Ex-ASDF chief Tamogami announces candidacy for Tokyo gubernatorial race

Former Air Self-Defense Force chief Toshio Tamogami announced Tuesday he will run as an independent in the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election.

"I will do my best for the safety and security of the people in Tokyo," the 65-year-old said at a press conference in Tokyo.

He was removed as ASDF chief of staff in 2008 after denying in an essay that Japan was an aggressor during World War II, a view running counter to that of the government. He now heads a conservative political group.

Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, now a House of Representatives lawmaker from the opposition Japan Restoration Party, attended the press conference to express his "personal" support for Tamogami.

"I'm pleased, as a friend of his, that he has made a great decision," Ishihara said.

Tamogami vowed in his election pledge to set up a Self-Defense Forces-led new rescue system in case of natural disasters, such as major earthquakes, and promote urban development to prepare for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The election is to be held after Naoki Inose stepped down as governor last month amid scandal. Kenji Utsunomiya, former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, has also announced his candidacy.