Tokyo governor launches new party ahead of elections

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TOKYO – Tokyo's governor is launching a new political party to challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party in national elections that are expected next month.

Yuriko Koike said Monday she is heading the Hope Party and plans to send candidates to vie for some of the 475 seats in the lower house.

Abe is expected to announce later Monday that he plans to dissolve part of Japan's two-chamber parliament on Thursday and call for a snap election to be held Oct. 22.

Koike's regional Tokyoites First no Kai group had a landslide victory in the city assembly election in July, dealing a major blow to Abe's scandal-plagued ruling party.

Support for Abe's party has since rebounded, somewhat helped by his Cabinet reshuffle last month and fading scandals during the parliament's recess.

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