National / Politics

Utsunomiya unveils basic policies in race to replace Tokyo's Inose

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics should not harm the environment, lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya said Monday as he threw his hat into the Tokyo gubernatorial election.

Utsunomiya said that if he is elected Feb. 9, he will look to scale down the plans for the gargantuan National Stadium and possibly nix the canoeing course scheduled to be held in fauna-rich Kasai Rinkai Park.

Noting that Tokyo is a much more mature society now compared with when it hosted the 1964 Olympics, the former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations told reporters at the metropolitan government building that an environmental theme was unavoidable for the event.

“The nature of the (2020) Olympics will be environment-friendly and simple in light of the current situation.”

Unveiling his basic policies, which include an emphasis on welfare, disaster prevention, realizing a nuclear-free society and promoting peace through interactions with other Asian municipalities, the 67-year-old lawyer said, “I decided to run in the election to make Tokyo a comfortable place to live for individual citizens.”

Utsunomiya, who declared his intention to run on Dec. 28, was runner-up to Naoki Inose in the December 2012 gubernatorial election with 968,000 votes.

Inose resigned Dec. 24 over a dubious ¥50 million loan he received from the scandal-tainted hospital chain Tokushukai. Inose said he decided to quit to prevent the issue from disrupting metropolitan government operations, including preparations for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Campaigning for the Feb. 9 gubernatorial election will officially start Jan. 23.

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