Governor Koike Yuriko Projected To Win Second Term

Governor Koike Yuriko projected to win second term

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko is poised to lead the capital through another four years. Ballot-counting is still underway in Sunday's election, which was shaped by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview soon after NHK projected her victory, Koike made fighting the virus her most urgent priority.

She said, "Under the nationwide state of emergency declaration, we asked almost all businesses in Tokyo to close down. But these days we know more about where and how the virus has been spreading. So we don't plan to ask all businesses to close down again. Instead, we will consider another effective measure to contain the spread of infection."

Koike also touched on preparations for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Pushing back the games has created logistical and financial problems.

Koike says the metropolitan government and the IOC are now working on plans to "streamline" the event.

She said, "Though the Games have been postponed to next year, children and athletes are looking forward to the events. In a sense, we can make it a goal in our anti-virus efforts to hold the Games, which would be proof that we'd have overcome the virus."

Koike held a strong lead throughout the campaign, taking down 21 rivals.

The veteran politician and former defense minister became Tokyo's first female governor in 2016 following an eight-term career in the Lower House.

Koike ran as an independent, but received unsolicited backing from some national lawmakers in the ruling coalition.

Kamoshita Ichiro, the local head of the Liberal Democratic Party, responded to the election results on Sunday evening. He said, "I am relieved Governor Koike was reelected. The election was important because it prompted us to work together to realize what's best for Tokyo."

Japan's biggest opposition, the Constitutional Democratic Party, was less pleased. The party's election affairs chief Nagatsuma Akira said, "Unfortunately, we opposition parties could not completely unite this time. We need to continue our efforts to have unified candidates face off against the Liberal Democratic Party in the next Lower House election."