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Inose cruises to victory in Tokyo governor’s race

Kyodo

Naoki Inose, the prizewinning writer who became a Tokyo vice governor in 2007, was elected the capital’s next governor Sunday.

The 66-year-old Inose, named by Shintaro Ishihara as his favored candidate when he stepped down as governor in October to run for the Diet, has promised to carry on work left unfinished by his predecessor, including the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and integration of Tokyo’s two subway systems.

Inose has also been enthusiastic about reforming the power industry, partly because the metropolitan government is a top shareholder in Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Many viewed the campaign as a referendum on the 13½-year administration of Ishihara, who provoked the recent bitter diplomatic row with China by announcing he wanted the metropolitan government to purchase several of the disputed Senkaku Islands. The central government outbid him.

Many of the eight other candidates pledged to break from Ishihara’s policies.

“I’d like to further proceed with the unfinished tasks, including the reform of Tokyo Electric to secure a stable electric power supply,” Inose said after being assured of the victory.

Inose’s main opponents were Kenji Utsunomiya, 66, former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, former Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa, 54, and Takashi Sasagawa, 77, a retired lawmaker with the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan.

Utsunomiya pledged to decommission all of Tepco’s reactors, abandon the metropolitan government’s attempt to host the Olympics and improve the capital’s welfare systems. Matsuzawa promised to liquidate the money-losing bank Tokyo Shinginko.