Japan former PM dubbed 'The Alien' to leave politics

This file photo taken on Aug 30, 2009 shows Yukio Hatoyama, then-head of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), putting a victory rose on the list of DPJ candidates at the party's election campaign headquarters in Tokyo during their general election victory. Former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama on Nov 21, 2012 has reportedly announced he is to leave the party he founded as it heads to a general election it is likely to lose. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama said on Wednesday he would retire from politics at next month's election and leave the party he founded.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters that Mr Hatoyama, whose wild-eyed expression contributed to his being dubbed "The Alien" by the Japanese press, had said he "will not run in the general election, and is retiring from politics".

Commentators believe the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will get a drubbing at the Dec 16 poll.

Mr Hatoyama's opposition to Mr Noda's sales tax rise and plans to join a trans-Pacific free trade deal were instrumental in the decision, earlier reports said.