TOKYO, July 6 (Xinhua) -- A lawmaker from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) announced Wednesday that she will run for Tokyo governor even without the endorsement of her party, a move likely to split the ruling party ahead of the July 10 Upper House election.
Yuriko Koike, former defense minister of Japan and a House of Representatives member, said at a press conference Wednesday that she would run for the governor's position though it was very unlikely that she would get support from the ruling party.
According to local reports, the LDP's Tokyo branch favors 64-year-old former Iwate Governor Hiroya Masuda as candidate for the gubernatorial race, though Koike, former TV anchorwoman, is considered more popular among the voters.
Nobuteru Ishihara, head of LDP's Tokyo branch, said the party chapter will not formally select its candidate for the election until after the July 10 Upper House election.
The gubernatorial election of Tokyo, set for July 31, is deemed important by all parties, as the elected governor would play an important role in the city's preparation for and hosting of the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
Former Senior Vice Defense Minister Akihisa Nagashima, lawmaker from the main opposition Democratic Party, is also regarded as a possible candidate.
Former Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe resigned last month amid a scandal over the alleged use of public funds for private holidays and gifts. Enditem