Former Japanese Health Minister Yoichi Masuzoe speaks before press at the Tokyo city hall on January 14, 2014 as he announces his run for the Tokyo gubernatorial election. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO
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Two former Japanese prime ministers challenged incumbent Shinzo Abe's pro-nuclear power policy on Tuesday, with charismatic Junichiro Koizumi backing ex-premier Morihiro Hosokawa's bid to become Tokyo governor on a platform opposing atomic energy.Hosokawa's candidacy could turn the local election into a referendum on Abe's energy policies and boost the anti-nuclear movement, which has lost momentum after a surge following the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years.Koizumi, one of Japan's most popular prime ministers from 2001 to 2006, has already nagged Abe with his anti-nuclear power pitch, a turnabout from the days when led the LDP.The next year, he took power at the head of a multi-party coalition that ousted the LDP for the first time in nearly 40 years.But his unwieldy coalition fractured and Hosokawa stepped down after just eight months amid a financial scandal. Hosokawa resigned in 1994 amid criticism over a 100 million yen loan he had taken 12 years earlier from the scandal-tainted Sagawa Kyubin trucking firm.
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