Hosokawa, who is running for Tokyo governor on a plank to scrap
nuclear power, is billing the February 9 vote as a referendum on
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to restart reactors halted after
the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
"Tokyo is shoving nuclear power plants and nuclear waste to other
regions, while enjoying the convenience (of electricity) as a big
consumer," said Hosokawa, 76, who is backed by charismatic former
prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.
"I wonder how much longer this selfish behavior can go on," he told
a news conference.
A Tokyo victory by a candidate backed by the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party is important for Abe after suffering a setback this
month when the challenger supported by the party lost the race to be
mayor of the Okinawa city of Nago.
Hosokawa, who trails the LDP-backed former health minister Yoichi
Masuzoe in recent media polls, also criticized Abe's foreign policy,
which he described as "pugnacious diplomacy" that could hurt ties
"One thing I'm concerned about is whether pugnacious diplomacy will
help the festival of peace to be held smoothly," Hosokawa said,
referring to the 2020 Olympic Games that Japan will host.
Japan has been locked in a bitter territorial dispute with China
over a group of tiny, uninhabited East China Sea islets called
Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Tensions have soared in
recent months after China's establishment of an air defense
identification zone covering a large swathe of the East China Sea
including the islands, and Abe's visit in December to a
controversial Tokyo shrine seen by critics as a symbol of Japan past
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China and South Korea have repeatedly expressed anger in the past
over Japanese politicians' visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese
leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World
War Two are honored along with those who died in battle.
Hosokawa lags Masuzoe, who left the LDP after it was ousted in 2009,
in a voter support survey, the Asahi Shimbun daily said on Monday,
without giving specific figures.
Hosokawa gets solid support from those who want nuclear power
scrapped now, but Masuzoe is most popular among those who want Japan
to give it up soon and those who want to retain nuclear power
generation, the survey showed.
"A top leader's task is to set an overall direction," Hosokawa said.
"If a decision is made now to put an end to nuclear energy, many
companies will stampede to natural energy so as not to fall behind
the trend, making natural energy grow at an astonishing rate."
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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