Whether Japan should rely on nuclear power generation will be a main theme in the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election as a result of former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa's announcement Tuesday that he will run in the election on a "zero nuclear" platform.

His entry will have a great impact on the gubernatorial race as he has secured the wholehearted support of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has renounced his earlier stance favoring nuclear power and now is a strong anti-nuclear advocate, causing embarrassment to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party. One issue that is likely to come back and haunt Hosokawa, however, is his questionable borrowing of ¥100 million from Sagawa Express Co., which led to his resignation as prime minister in April 1994. He should give a full explanation.

Making a zero-nuclear goal the focus of policy debate in the gubernatorial election is both timely and welcome in view of the devastation that the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have caused and of the fact that Japan is a quake-prone country. Moreover, there is no established technology that will ensure safe storage of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants for tens of thousands years.