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.