TOKYO, Jan. 8 -- Japan's former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe said Wednesday that he planned to run in the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election, local media reported.
Masuzoe, 65, a former Liberal Democratic Party member, told reporters in Tokyo the day: "I have started seriously considering it. I will run, basically, as an independent."
Kyodo News reported, the ruling LDP and its coalition partner, the New Komeito party, intend to support Masuzoe, while some in the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan are also seeking to endorse him.
"I cannot work as Tokyo governor half-heartedly if I would have to assume the post," Masuzoe said, indicating that he was laying the groundwork for a run.
He lost the 1999 Tokyo gubernatorial race, then elected to the Upper House in 2001 as an LDP member and served as health minister in the Cabinets of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first administration, as well as those of Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso.
Masuzoe quit LDP in April 2010 and set up the New Renaissance Party.
The gubernatorial election will be held on Feb. 9 to choose the successor to Naoki Inose, who resigned last month over his receipt of 50 million yen from scandal-tainted hospital chain Tokushukai.
Kenji Utsunomiya, 67, former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, and Toshio Tamogami, 65, former chief of staff of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, have announced their candidacies.