Channel NewsAsia

Former PM Hosokawa kicks off Tokyo governor campaign

Two decades after he bowed out of politics, a former Japanese prime minister has thrown his name into the ring to become the governor of Tokyo. Morihiro Hosokawa kicked off his campaign on Wednesday for a role that will be instrumental in Tokyo's hosting of the Olympic Games.

TOKYO: Two decades after he bowed out of politics, a former Japanese prime minister has thrown his name into the ring to become the governor of Tokyo.

76-year-old Morihiro Hosokawa kicked off his campaign on Wednesday for a role that will be instrumental in Tokyo's hosting of the Olympic Games.

But his path to election will be a difficult one.

Mr Hosokawa gave his first news conference amid a media frenzy.

He mentioned earlier in a door stop with fellow ex-premier Junichiro Koizumi that he wants to create a nuclear free society.

Mr Hosokawa said: "The reason I decided to run is, I look at the direction the country is headed with concern. Nuclear power, security, ties with neighboring countries are several of the issues."

The former prime minister said he was not initially supportive of Tokyo hosting the Olympic Games because many people are still living in evacuation centres, and are still suffering from the nuclear meltdown.

But he said: "Now that it's been confirmed we will be the host, I would like to utilise 2020 for a productive rebuilding of Tokyo, of Japan, by welcoming the Olympics and Paralympics to create a new Japan."

Many analysts expressed doubts on whether Mr Hokosawa would make a good governor.

In 1994, he stepped down as prime minister due to his own political funds scandal, and has led a quiet life in retirement since 1998 as a potter.

Former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe is also running for Tokyo governor.

According to public opinion polls, Mr Masuzoe, who is backed by the ruling Liberal Democrat party, is the most popular candidate.

He said: "I would like to reform the issues that have been left incomplete. I want to start a social welfare reform in Tokyo and spread that to other parts of Japan, driving from a Tokyo model."

Candidates, to officially take part in the Tokyo governor race, become official when the Tokyo Metropolitan government ends its registration at 5pm on Thursday. 

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna