Tokyo governor race wide open as former PM Koizumi backs alternative candidate
TOKYO (AFP) - Popular former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi said on Tuesday he was backing a fellow former premier in the race to become Tokyo governor, setting the stage for an electoral clash over nuclear power.
Mr Morihiro Hosokawa, who served in the nation's top job in 1993-1994 as head of a now-defunct coalition, announced his independent candidacy and scored a ringing endorsement from the influential Mr Koizumi, with the two men both playing up their anti-atomic stance.
"I have made my decision to run in the Tokyo governor election," Mr Hosokawa said. "I have a sense of crisis myself that the country's various problems, especially the nuclear issue, are matters of survival for the country."
The move positions him as the main alternative to the candidate backed by current Premier Shinzo Abe and his pro-business Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which wants to restart the nation's mothballed nuclear power plants.