Utsunomiya 1st to declare his candidacy for Tokyo governor

TOKYO —

Kenji Utsunomiya, 67, a veteran human rights lawyer and a former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, on Saturday became the first to declare his candidacy for the Feb 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election to replace Naoki Inose.

Utsunomiya ran unsuccessfully against Inose last December. He said during a lecture that he wants to make Tokyo a secure city where people can live and work, Sankei Shimbun reported.

Utsunomiya, who has already received the endorsement of the Japanese Communist Party and Social Democratic Party, said Tokyo needs a strong governor to keep the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in check and expressed his opposition to the state secrecy law. 

Known for his work in helping people in debt, Utsunomiya has called for the Japanese government to permanently close all nuclear plants. He further said that he will make sure spending doesn’t get out of hand for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He said the Games should be run in the spirit of peace and friendship and encourage the people of the disaster-hit Tohoku region to be a part of the festivities.

Other political parties are holding meetings over the New Year holiday period to decide which candidates to support.

Campaigning begins on Jan 23. 

Japan Today

  • 1

    Michael Craig

    Kenji Utsunomiya's a REALLY good man! He stands up for the common folk!

    I hope he'll become a better Governor!

  • 1

    Stephen Knight

    he wants to make Tokyo a secure city where people can live and work

    I'd say that pretty much describes Tokyo today, but his other goals are certainly laudable, as is his stance of defending working-class folks.

    Tokyoites have a history of supporting non-mainstream (e.g., not supported by either the LDP or the DPJ) candidates, and I doubt they would be interested in a candidacy by Tokyo outsider Higashikokubara, though Masuzoe, the former Health, Welfare, and Labor minister could alter the balance if he decides to throw his hat into the ring.

  • 1

    darknuts

    why are Japanese politicians so old? He's almost 70.

  • 0

    wildwest

    I put for ward Anpan Man. He has good a character, and the all same qualities as Utsunomiya.

  • -3

    Jimizo

    Would be an improvement on the senile old bigot Ishihara and the slimy Inose. Higashikokubaru is another joke who shouldn't be in charge of one of the world's major cities. Let's hope for a decent leader this time around rather than the dregs which have held office in the last decade or so.

  • -1

    Knox Harrington

    why are Japanese politicians so old? He's almost 70.

    Everyone in Japan is old. Just representing society as a whole... BTW, if this Utsunomiya fella really is a good character, there's no chance he'll win.

  • 2

    as_the_crow_flies

    You go Utsunomiya! I wanted him to win first time round. Here's hoping for a miracle!

  • 1

    NathalieB

    why are Japanese politicians so old? He's almost 70.

    67 is not old!

    This guys sounds like exactly what Tokyo needs. So there is probably next to no chance of him getting in. People like to vote in loonies as mayors/governors. It gives them all something to talk and laugh about. Londons Boris is a prime example. And dont even go there with Toronto and San Diego.

  • 1

    toshiko

    LDP and JDP nust have hard time to find none-political sincere candidate like Utsunomoya. After Inose goofed, Mr. Utsunomiya has an excellent chance to work for Tokyo and its people.

  • -1

    Knox Harrington

    Utsunomiya, I believe, is old because there is very little political interest in Japan. There are no (or very few) 20-something, ideological, activist-types in Japan and thus Japan is left with what thy can find.

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    Sounds like a pretty reasonable choice, given that the other suggested candidates are comedians who resigned from political posts, or former athletes with no qualifications.

    "...and expressed his opposition to the state secrecy law."

    I said before this should be any future politicians major stepping stone, given how much the public is against the law that was slammed through the Diet.

    "He said the Games should be run in the spirit of peace and friendship and encourage the people of the disaster-hit Tohoku region to be a part of the festivities."

    And that's where you lost me... once again bringing up the Olympics as a means of helping the people of Tohoku when they cannot get any help from government but hollow promises, and their names used to promote election.

  • 1

    Osaka_Doug

    I know some good 40 something leaders that would be a great governor for Tokyo -- but they told me there is no use. It is sad to hear they don't feel they could manage the bureaucrats in the system. I wonder if this is really true.

  • 0

    toshiko

    Maybe people can not expect manga and video game grown 220 something young sters from just out of a university to manage bureaucrats who have been working for years. Can these 20 something youngsters know how to crack down nismanagement of finnance or policyies? Just they might be good can not be able to recruit them. A ot of cfampaign money and supportes to worl for his campaign office. But if they are good, there will be a lot of legal cvampaign donations. Maybe their papa mama will help them.

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