/

Sacked nationalist general officially declares Tokyo governor candidacy in Ishihara's presence

Tamogami pledges SDF disaster prep

by Ayako Mie

Staff Writer

Toshio Tamogami, a former top officer in the Air Self-Defense Force cashiered for historical revisionist comments, formally announced Tuesday he will run for Tokyo governor, pledging to build a stronger disaster response system with the SDF to brace for terrorist attacks during the 2020 Olympics or a massive earthquake hitting the capital.

“It is important to create a system with the SDF to rescue Tokyo residents when natural disasters hit Tokyo. My experience with the SDF would give me a great opportunity to do this,” Tamogami, 66, told reporters.

The former general also pledged to launch a program for rebuilding aging infrastructure in Tokyo in tandem with the state.

Tamogami was sacked in October 2008 after publishing an essay that argued Japan was not “an aggressor” in the wars it waged in the 1930s and 1940s. He also claimed Japan was dragged into war with China by Chiang Kai-shek and into the Pacific War by communist agents who swayed U.S. President D. Franklin Roosevelt.

So far no political parties have endorsed him, but Shintaro Ishihara, a former Tokyo governor and now co-leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), attended Tamogami’s news conference to show his support. Nippon Ishin decided Tuesday not to bind its members to vote for a certain candidate.

Tamogami is the second person to enter the Feb. 9 election. Lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya announced Monday he will make his second run for the office.

Utsunomiya was defeated in December 2012 by Naoki Inose, who resigned last month over dubious funds he borrowed from the Tokushukai hospital group.

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba said Tuesday the ruling party will decide on its candidate this week. The question is if the party will back ex-LDP lawmaker Yoichi Masuzoe if he decides to run.