One would never say never, but with Koike firmly ruling out, yet again, any intention to jump back to the national stage, commentators continue to wonder just what this has been all about. The pressure continues to be maintained and today she had to deflect what she called a 'love call' from Maehara to reconsider. At the smae press conference, when asked about appointing a potential parliamentary leader of the Kibo no To, Maehara, standing right next to Koike, who has just restated her position, told the media he still considered Koike to be the best candidate.
This is playing into the hands of the Abe Government of course and his easy call of opposition unrest and uncertainty versus his government's strength and assuredness, although as I, and many other commentators have noted, 'er, Mr Abe, we wouldn't have this uncertainty playing out quite so plainly if you hadn't called an unnecessary snap poll'...
Koike's refining of her policy position as she sifts through her candidate selection process might actually be also helping the new, renewed Democrats also define theirs. Her 'exclusion' of the so-called 'liberals' from her party has garnered support under the progressive banner and is presenting the new, renewed Dems with some momentum. This can only be good for delineating party lines given that the old Dems had become an umbrella group for disaffected, not sure where we want to stand types, a stale mix of ill-defined, perhaps undefinable policy positions.
A comment was made today that if only the JCP, the Japanese Communist Party, could bring themselves to change their name, align with the Constitutional Dems, now that they are sharing much more common ground, then there might be a reasonable opposition to challenge the Abe government. For many it seems, the term 'Communist' despite its history in the Japanese political landscape, and despite the fact the party gave up any tenets of Marxism-Leninism years go, the term itself remains a vote loser.
Many hanker after a more stable two-party system in Japan but it continues to remain in its historical holding patterns.
As recriminations noted yesterday continue, more is being revealed about Koike's 'authoritarian' style within City Hall and within the party grouping. This is not an unexpected criticism of women politicians who don't 'conform' to some preconceived notion of female behaviour. I'm prepared to reserve judgement on this point for now.
Also doing the rounds of the internet today was someone's carefully presented graphic of Koike's history of party-hopping since entering politics in the early 1990s. Again, intended as a criticism but given the ebb and flow of parties since then, perhaps not surprising. There are any number of male politicians who have similarly shifted around parties.
Nonetheless, it is worth noting.
It also includes a comprehensive list of positions she has held and roles she has had along the way.
One element of this research is to ask the question 'are women politicians treated differently, and if so, how?' The answer is probably obvious. Focussing on Koike at this particular time is going to present some useful evidence I suspect.
We are just a few days away from declaring all candidates. That will give us a clearer picture of what lies ahead for voters and the political players in this theatre we call politics.