Japan: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike set to win re-election, exit poll shows

Koike’s win would have a positive impact on PM Kishida’s leadership

Yuriko Koike Tokyo gubernatorial election Incumbent Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike delivers speech after she was elected for Tokyo's gubernatorial election in Tokyo | AP

Yuriko Koike, Tokyo's incumbent governor is projected to win her re-election as head of Japan's capital for a third term. The exit poll trend favours Koike in the male-dominated country.

Backed by the opposition parties, Renho was the main contender to Koike, though there were 55 candidates in the fray challenging her post. Renho is also known to be a liberal-leaning former lawmaker.

After the exit poll results, Koike thanked the people in Tokyo at the campaign headquarters in the capital. “I believe the voters gave me a mandate for my accomplishment in the past eight years,” Koike said. She vowed to bring in more reforms and support for Tokyo residents.

I'm fully aware of my heavy responsibility, she said. I will tackle my third term with all my body and soul, Koike added.

Koike had been affiliated with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's conservative governing party. Unofficially, Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito backed her campaign. Koike’s win would have a positive impact on Kishida in the upcoming September elections.

Though Renho is running as an independent, she is supported by the main opposition, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party.

Also, Shinji Ishimaru, a former mayor of Akitakata town in Hiroshima is gaining some popularity among young voters.

Key issues in the campaign

Matters relating to the economy, disaster resilience for Tokyo and low birth numbers stood out during the campaign.

Koike's policies focused on providing subsidies for married parents expecting babies and those raising children. Renho called for more support for youngsters to address their concerns about jobs and financial stability, helping them to improve their prospects of having families.

The controversial redevelopment of Tokyo’s beloved park area, Jingu Gaien, was again a focus of attention. The project was approved by Koike, who later had to withdraw due to lack of transparency allegations.

Koike, a media-savvy former TV newscaster, was first elected to parliament in 1992 at age 40. She served in a number of key cabinet posts, including environment and defence ministers, as part of the long-reining Liberal Democratic Party.

While, Renho, a former model and newscaster was elected to parliament in 2004. She was elected to parliament in 2004 and served as administrative reform minister in the government led by the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan.


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