National / Politics

Former Tokyo vice governor may run for top job

Kyodo

Former Tokyo Vice Gov. Yutaka Takehana said Monday he plans to throw his hat into the ring for the July 31 Tokyo gubernatorial election, provided he can gain the support of the ruling parties.

The election is being held to replace Yoichi Masuzoe, who resigned recently amid a political funds scandal.

Takehana, a 67-year-old former police bureaucrat, has told the Tokyo chapters of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito of his intention to run.

“The election should not turn into a mere popularity contest, and someone familiar with the metropolitan government should become the governor. I want to run for the election if I can gain support from the LDP and Komeito,” he said.

Takehana started his career at the National Police Agency in 1973 and eventually served as chief of the Hiroshima Prefectural Police. He was appointed Tokyo vice governor in June 2003 at the request of then-Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.

Takehana is currently president of Tokyo Big Sight Inc., operator of the convention center in the Odaiba waterfront area.

The official campaign period for the election is set to begin on July 14, just days after the July 10 Upper House election.

Among high-profile names floated as possible candidates is Yuriko Koike, a well-known lawmaker of the LDP and former defense minister.

Kenji Utsunomiya, a lawyer and former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, is also rumored to be considering a run. Utsunomiya, who has never held public office, ran in the previous gubernatorial election and finished second to Masuzoe.

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