Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike Reelected (Renho Challenge Collapses)

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike Reelected (Renho Challenge Collapses)

Sawako Utsumi and Sawako Uchida

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was reelected once more after the projected stern challenge from Renhō Saitō collapsed. Hence, the gubernatorial election equates to the status quo.

Koike (with nearly all votes counted) won 42.8% of the vote – with Shinji Ishimaru coming second with 24.3%. Ishimaru – an independent candidate with no main political backing – did remarkably well to come second.

The BBC reports, “Unexpectedly, Shinji Ishimaru, 41, an independent candidate and the former mayor of Akitakata, a town in Hiroshima prefecture, placed second, a position that was long thought to be guaranteed for Renho Saito.”

However, for Renhō, it was a disappointing night. She only obtained 18.8% of the vote.

Koike said, “I believe the voters gave me a mandate for my accomplishment in the past eight years.”

Koike continued, “I’m fully aware of my heavy responsibility… I will tackle my third term with all my body and soul.”

AP News reports, “Renho, running as an independent but supported by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party, criticized Koike’s ties with Kishida’s party, which has been hit by a widespread slush fund scandal.”

Koike – knowing the unpopularity of the current Prime Minister of Japan (Fumio Kishida) – kept her distance from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party – while benefitting by stealth.

Lee Jay Walker (Modern Tokyo Times analyst) says, “Koike gained from her power concentration advantages. This concerns Koike being the incumbent Tokyo Governor before her 2024 reelection. Also, the elderly population remained overwhelmingly supportive of Koike related to the other candidates.”

Koike said, “I will lead Tokyo politics in an unprecedented manner, a Tokyo you have never seen.” 

Indeed, with the Tokyo Olympics and COVID-19 shadows generating a huge past focus for Koike, she will be free to enact independent policies concerning the above comment.

It is hoped that Koike will lead Tokyo to a new dynamic stage.

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