• Kyodo

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Kunio Shimono, a physician and member of the Okayama-based Association of Medical Doctors of Asia, said Friday he will run in July’s Hyogo gubernatorial election.

Shimono, 57, joins a field of candidates that includes Vice Gov. Toshizo Ido, 55, a former home affairs ministry bureaucrat.

Shimono said he will not seek endorsement from any particular party.

“We cannot do anything in Japan today because it is controlled by bureaucrats,” he said. “As a doctor, I want to tackle environmental problems affecting the lives of people.” Shimono operates clinics and nursing care facilities in Bizen, Okayama Prefecture, and Kobe. He headed an AMDA relief mission to the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which claimed more than 6,400 lives.

Four-term Hyogo Gov. Toshitami Kaihara, 67, said he is stepping down now that rehabilitation efforts in the wake of the quake are nearly complete. He also said he is quitting in order to look after his ailing wife, Setsuko, 64.

Kaihara’s term does not expire until November 2002.

The Hyogo gubernatorial election is likely to be held July 29, the same day as the House of Councilors election.

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