Kenji Utsunomiya, former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, announced Friday he will run for Tokyo governor, vowing to lead a movement from the capital to abolish nuclear power.

Utsunomiya, who has devoted his career to fighting poverty, also pledged to beef up support for the socially weak by expanding employment opportunities and providing improved welfare and medical care.

“I want to push forward with a policy to abolish nuclear power starting in Tokyo . . . I absolutely cannot approve of nuclear power,” Utsunomiya, 65, said at a news conference in a Lower House office building with dozens of members from citizens’ groups attending to show their support.

The attorney served two years as head of JFBA through last March.

Utsunomiya also served as honorary mayor of a temporary “village” for jobless temp workers set up in 2008 in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park.

The Ehime native said he plans to cooperate with other municipalities to pressure the central government to abolish nuclear power. He vowed to provide support for victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, such as offering housing in Tokyo.

“Tokyo is the biggest consumer (in Japan) of electricity, and it is the biggest shareholder of Tokyo Electric Power Co.,” he said. “So it is the responsibility of Tokyo and Tokyoites to support victims of the nuclear disaster.”

Utsunomiya said he will seek support from any political party that agrees with his key policies.

Former Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa threw his hat into the ring Thursday. Hideo Higashikokubaru, former governor of Miyazaki, is reportedly also planning to run.

Campaigning kicks off Nov. 29 and the election will be Dec. 16.

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