Shiro Asano has unofficially announced his candidacy in the Tokyo gubernatorial race. His message to the DPJ? If they put up a candidate, he'll step down [and they will be responsible for getting Ishihara reelected.]The DPJ will seek vicarious satisfaction by unofficially supporting Mr. Asano's none-of-the-above candidacy.
Some years back (in the early years of the Koizumi administration), I told anyone in New York who would listen that there were many good people in local government who could be the future of national politics in Japan. I remember Toyoo Gyohten, the ex-MOFA vice-minister and former chairman of what was then Bank of Tokyo, saying more or less the same thing at the Asia Society there.
We heard similar talk about Russia in the Yeltsin years, so we know there's no such thing like a sure bet.
In the meantime though, I will give you even odds that Asano will win this one for "none-of-the-above". I don't expect any takers.