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Tokyo gubernatorial election: the main contenders

Kyodo

The following are brief profiles of major candidates in the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election.

Morihiro Hosokawa, 76

Hosokawa was prime minister from August 1993 until he resigned in April 1994 amid criticism over a ¥100 million loan he had taken 12 years earlier from parcel delivery firm Sagawa Express Co.

Hosokawa was the first prime minister in 38 years who was not from the Liberal Democratic Party. He headed a reform-minded eight-party coalition government.

With popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Hosokawa has formed a rare alliance for the election based on their common goal of abolishing nuclear power in Japan.

Hosokawa has been away from politics and making pottery since he quit the House of Representatives in May 1998 at the age of 60. He was Kumamoto governor for eight years from 1983.

Yoichi Masuzoe, 65

Masuzoe, an expert on international affairs, is backed by the LDP and coalition partner New Komeito.

He headed the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare between August 2007 and September 2009 in three administrations, including Shinzo Abe’s first term in office.

Masuzoe, a member of the LDP until 2010, when he formed a new party, is also an anti-nuclear advocate. But he opposes an immediate end to nuclear energy, saying alternatives are not ready in Japan.

Masuzoe was defeated by Shintaro Ishihara in the April 1999 Tokyo gubernatorial election.

Toshio Tamogami, 65

Tamogami, who was Air Self-Defense Force chief from March 2007 to October 2008, has received personal support from Ishihara, now co-leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).

He was removed from the post for publishing an essay arguing Japan was not an aggressor in the war, contradicting the government’s official stance.

He believes his experience in the field of defense will help Tokyo better prepare for natural disasters, especially ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

Kenji Utsunomiya, 67

Utsunomiya, the former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, is looking for a nuclear-free Japan, like Hosokawa.

Recommended by the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, Utsunomiya aims to make Tokyo the world’s most comfortable city to work and live in. He is known for his work in helping heavily indebted people, and finished a distant second to Naoki Inose in the December 2012 Tokyo gubernatorial election.