Shinji Ishimaru, mayor of the city of Akitakata in Hiroshima Prefecture, said Thursday that he intends to run in the Tokyo gubernatorial race set to be held in July.

"I want to change Japan through changing Tokyo," Ishimaru said at an event in the capital. "It's time to shift from having everything concentrating in Tokyo to decentralizing across Japan."

He is expected to run against incumbent Yuriko Koike, who has yet to officially throw her hat into the ring.

Ishimaru is known for clashing with local media outlets and municipal assembly members since he was first elected in 2020. Due to his popularity, the city's YouTube channel has close to 240,000 subscribers.