TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, whose new political party poses a growing threat in elections later this month, denied speculation that she would run, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Koike's fledgling Party of Hope has emerged as a growing challenger to the bloc led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since Abe called the snap Oct. 22 poll last month.
"I have been saying I will not run for the election from the beginning," Koike said in an interview with the Yomiuri.
"I'm 100 percent not running for the election", it quoted her as saying in her strongest denial to date.
Abe called the poll in the hope his bloc would keep its two-thirds "super majority" in the lower house.
Koike must decide whether to run for a seat in parliament to become eligible for the top job, or wait and bet her party positions itself to win the next national poll.
Koike, a media-savvy former LDP member and defense minister, has said she would not resign as governor to run now, especially ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Paul Tait)