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Utsunomiya to run for governor again

KYODO

Kenji Utsunomiya, former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, said Saturday that he intends to run in the Tokyo gubernatorial election Feb. 9, making him the first candidate to emerge since Gov. Naoki Inose resigned earlier this month.

Utsunomiya, 67, was runner-up to Inose in the previous election in December 2012, and ran as an independent on an anti-nuclear energy platform with the backing of the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and the now-defunct Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan).

Inose helped the capital win the 2020 Olympics during his 372 days in office but resigned after admitting he accepted a ¥50 million loan from scandal-tainted hospital chain Tokushukai.

Inose said he decided to step down to prevent the scandal from disrupting Tokyo’s preparations to host the games but has not provided a full account of the scandal and has flip-flopped many times in explaining the details of the shady loan.