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Tokyo Governor Koike seen certain to run for 3rd term

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike
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01 Aug 2023 09:08:28 GMT9
01 Aug 2023 09:08:28 GMT9

TOKYO: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is highly likely to run for a third term in the gubernatorial election in summer 2024, when her current second four-year tenure expires, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Koike was first elected governor of the Japanese capital in 2016, defeating candidates including one backed by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito.

In the 2020 election, she won a landslide victory, garnering about 3.66 million votes, the second-most votes collected by a single candidate in any Tokyo gubernatorial poll, after Naoki Inose, who won the 2012 Tokyo gubernatorial election with some 4.33 million votes.

In the second term, Koike took the lead in the efforts to deal with the novel coronavirus crisis and hold the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in the capital in 2021 under a COVID-19 state of emergency. She also worked out a system to oblige new houses to be equipped with solar panels as part of decarbonization efforts.

Koike has also been focusing on child care support. The Tokyo metropolitan government is set to make care services free of charge for the second children of families and launch a program in January 2024 to provide an allowance of 5,000 yen per child a month without setting an upper limit on parents’ incomes.

“I think the governor will propose bold measures again under the metropolitan government’s budget for fiscal 2024,” which starts in April next year, a Tokyo government official said.

At a regular press conference July 21, Koike avoided a clear comment on whether she will run in the 2024 Tokyo gubernatorial election for a third term, stating only, “I would say I want to focus on improving the operations and administrative services of the Tokyo metropolitan government although I understand that you want me to say something.”

But an executive of Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites first group), a regional political party for which Koike serves as special adviser, said, “We will make preparations for the 2024 election on the assumption that she will run (in the race).”

A Tokyo metropolitan assembly member of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the country’s biggest opposition party, also predicts that Koike is “highly likely to” throw her hat in the ring.

Meanwhile, a metropolitan assembly member from the LDP said that “no plans are underway” within the party for the summer 2024 election.

In the previous governor race in 2020, the LDP’s Tokyo chapter tried to field its own candidate, but ended up giving up the idea and deciding to allow its members to vote for candidates of their choice.

Major opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), which increased its seats sizably in unified local elections in April this year, intends to put up its own candidate in the forthcoming Tokyo race.

In the 2020 election, a candidate supported by Nippon Ishin won about 600,000 votes. The party, which is based in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, aims to expand its presence in Tokyo by fielding its candidate in the 2024 election.

JIJI Press

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