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Masuzoe vows to make Tokyo tops for residents of all ages

Kyodo

Tokyo’s likely next governor, Yoichi Masuzoe, has pledged to use his experience heading the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to make the capital a better place for children, adults and the elderly.

Masuzoe, 65, an expert on international affairs, has said that under his leadership, Tokyo will strive to become the world’s top city in such fields as disaster preparedness, social welfare, business and education. He also wants to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics “the best ever in Olympic history.”

Masuzoe was once named in a series of public polls as the best person to become prime minister until he left the Liberal Democratic Party in April 2010 to form a new party. But the independent seems to have improved his once-strained ties with the ruling LDP, given that he ran in Sunday’s election with support from the LDP-New Komeito party ruling coalition and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo).

Masuzoe believes that Japan should reduce its dependency on nuclear power generation but opposes an immediate end to nuclear energy, saying that alternatives aren’t yet ready to replace a power source that was used to provide a third of the nation’s electricity before the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The Fukuoka native gained fame as a TV commentator in the 1980s and decided to become a politician after caring for his ailing mother.

In the April 1999 Tokyo gubernatorial election, Masuzoe was defeated by Shintaro Ishihara, who went on to become one of the longest-serving governors and is now co-leader of Nippon Ishin (Japan Restoration Party).

After winning his House of Representatives seat in 2001, Masuzoe served as health minister between August 2007 and September 2009 in three administrations, including Shinzo Abe’s first prime ministership.