The campaign for the Tokyo gubernatorial election officially kicked off on Thursday, with the 2020 Olympics playing a main role in the candidates’ respective platforms. Other hot button topics include the Japan’s reliance on nuclear energy, disaster preparedness in light of a possible massive earthquake in the near future and the continuing graying of the country’s population.
This is the third election in three years for the governor of the nation’s capital, following the resignation of Naoki Inose last month due to a money loan scandal involving the Tokushukai hospital group. Some of the popular candidates for the election, set for February 7, are former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, former Health Minister Yoichi Masuzoe, former head of the Air Self Defense Force Toshio Tamogami and former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations Kenji Utsunomiya.
Hosokawa is seen as the front-runner, having the support of another former Prime Minister, the still popular Junichiro Koizumi. He is promoting an anti-nuclear stance, saying that it is possible for Japan to still excel economically even without nuclear power. Masuzoe meanwhile has revealed his plans to make Tokyo the city of choice to live, work and raise children, based on years of experience in the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Meanwhile, the upcoming 2020 Olympics is playing a major talking point for the candidates. Hosokawa sees this hosting privilege as a “chance to build a new Japan.” Utsonomiya’s point of view is to also involve other parts of the country, particularly the disaster-hit Tohoku region. “The event must be welcomed not only in Tokyo but also in other parts of the country and abroad,” he said. He also vowed to turn it into a “simple and environmentally friendly” occasion. Masuzoe says it is also crucial to ensure that antiterrorism efforts are in place as well as to add more signage in English and other languages for the huge number of tourists that will come in before and during the games. Tamogami also wants to focus on boosting Tokyo’s economy in the lead up to 2020 through the various public works projects that will be needed to prepare the host city.
[ via The Mainichi ]