A mere 50 or so days since forming Kibo no To (Hope), Yuriko Koike resigned as party leader on Nov. 14, leaving many people shaking their heads in despair at all the fuss she had created.

With the party’s new executive lineup now in place, Koike said she would play a supporting role, leaving party management to Diet members.

Right from the start, there were questions about Koike, the sitting governor of Tokyo, doubling as the leader of a national party. But she took the initiative in creating the party, insisting she would “reset the plan to establish the party under initiatives of Diet members and lead the process.”

But the political whirlwind she initially seemed to have created died down quickly when she pushed her “exclusionist” party policy. In the Oct. 22 Lower House election, her party ceded the position of top opposition party to the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), formed by those who had been “excluded” from the Hope party.

Hope’s popular approval ratings have since continued to languish. According to the latest Asahi Shimbun poll, taken earlier this month, the party had the support of only 3 percent of voters, way behind the CDP’s 12 percent.

Many of the Hope members who survived the October election are former members of the Democratic Party. This must make it difficult for Koike, a former Liberal Democratic Party member, to assert leadership.

Unable to steer Hope toward recovery, it appears that Koike has lost interest in leading the party.

But she is responsible for something she must not forget, which is that her party picked up 9.67 million votes in proportional representation districts, thanks to her pledge to “end Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s one strong party regime.”

Many voters must have pinned their hopes on Koike’s leadership. Does the weight of their votes mean anything to her?

This is the second time Koike has resigned as a party leader in less than six months.

Before the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election this past summer, she became head of the regional Tomin First no Kai (Tokyo residents first association), promising to “accelerate reforms.”

But only one month after winning the election by a landslide, she stepped down, saying she needed to focus on her gubernatorial duties.

Two-and-a-half months after that, which was shortly before the Lower House election, she became the head of the Hope party, saying she needed “to participate in national politics in order to ensure speedy reforms.” And then, she walked away from that post on Nov. 14.

We are concerned that her pattern of behavior will further deepen the public’s distrust in politics and political parties.

Having lost the “party icon” that was Koike, the Hope party urgently needs to rebuild itself. But like the Democratic Party, Hope is still unable to patch up internal rifts over major policy issues, including its stance on national security legislation.

And what, exactly, is Hope’s goal? Under the new leader, Yuichiro Tamaki, the party must start policy debates from scratch. It must not repeat what Koike did before the October election--cobbling policies together in haste and leaving them at that.

The ruling LDP, flushed with its landslide election victory, is already starting to act with arrogance by demanding cuts in question time allotted to opposition parties in the Diet.

During the election campaign, Koike was vague about whether her party would remain in the opposition camp or consider collaboration with the ruling coalition.

As Diet debates enter full swing in the days ahead, Tamaki and his executive members will be tested on the choices they make.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 15