Former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said he believed ex-military chief Toshio Tamogami is best suited to lead the metropolis and would triumph in the looming gubernatorial race.

The sharp-tongued former leader, who was governor of Tokyo for 13 years to 2012, threw his weight behind fellow hardline nationalist Tamogami.

The onetime chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force was sacked in 2008 after making controversial remarks stating that Japan was not an aggressor during World War II. He said his nation was a force in Asia fighting against Western imperialism.

During a press conference announcing his candidacy, Tamogami said he was confident of his victory in the gubernatorial elections next month because of his experience in the military.

“I made the decision because it’s best for protecting Tokyo that I become the governor,” the former general told reporters.

Tamogami said Tokyo should educate younger generations to have “confidence and pride” in their country, whose reputation has been stained by its past militarism.

Ishihara, also the proponent of the purchase of islands from the disputed Senkaku chain, was present at the press conference to lend his support but admitted Tamogami faced a “tough battle.”

Next month’s gubernatorial election comes after Naoki Inose stepped down following a humiliating admission of receiving $500,000 from the scandal-ridden Tokushukai group.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: Huffington Post