Japan's Koike to step down as party head: reports

Yuriko Koike was seen as a trailblazer but suffered a heavy defeat in the elections

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, once seen as a possible first Japanese female prime minister, will step down as leader of her party after suffering a crushing election defeat last month, local media reported Tuesday.

Vowing to do away with "old politics," the charismatic former television anchorwoman launched a new party in September that aspired to offer an alternative to the long-governing Liberal Democratic Party and its leader Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the October 22 snap elections.

Her new "Party of Hope" fielded 235 candidates for the poll but won a mere 50 seats while Abe's ruling coalition grabbed a two-thirds majority.

Koike's support imploded partially because she failed to stand herself in the election -- confusing voters who did not know who would be premier if she won.

"It was a complete defeat," Koike admitted after the election, acknowledging she had been guilty of "arrogance".

She had stayed on as head of the party despite the defeat but told close aides she would step down later Tuesday as the party selects its executive members, according to public broadcaster NHK and other media.

Immediate confirmation of the news reports was not available.

Koike is now expected to focus on her job as governor of Tokyo, with the capital set to host the Summer Olympics in 2020, news reports said.

The 65-year-old was elected Tokyo governor last year, one of several jobs the trailblazer has been the first woman to fill.