Two charismatic former prime ministers joining forces on a rare anti-nuclear power ticket are pitted against a former health minister and a human-rights activist in the election to lead Japan's capital.

Sunday's ballot for Tokyo governor is likely to influence national policy as Japan goes through soul-searching on energy options after the March 2011 nuclear disaster — the worst since Chernobyl.

Morihiro Hosokawa, prime minister in the 1990s, who had retired to become a potter, is trying to make a comeback, backed by Junichiro Koizumi, who remains enormously popular. Both are pushing for an end to nuclear power.

Japanese media polls say Yoichi Masuzoe, a former health minister, more moderate on nuclear power, is leading. A lawyer known for human rights cases and a former military officer are also running.