Tokyo Gov Koike wins a third four-year term as head of Japan’s influential capital

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Incumbent Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike celebrates after she was elected for Tokyo’s gubernatorial election in Tokyo on July 7. (AP)

TOKYO, July 8, (AP): Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike easily won a third four-year term as head of Japan’s influential capital in a closely watched vote Sunday, the city’s residents apparently happy with her governance that included providing childcare subsidies and holding the Olympics during the coronavirus pandemic.
The vote was also seen as a test for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s governing party, which supports Koike, the first woman to lead the Tokyo city government.
Tokyo, a city of 13.5 million people with outsized political and cultural power and a budget equaling some nations, is one of Japan’s most influential political posts. A record 55 candidates challenged Koike, and one of the top contenders was also a woman – a liberal-leaning former lawmaker who uses only her first name, Renho, and was backed by opposition parties.
Minutes after exit polls projecting her victory, Koike showed up at her campaign headquarters in Tokyo and celebrated by thanking the voters who chose her.
“I believe the voters gave me a mandate for my accomplishment in the past eight years,” Koike said. She pledged to push for 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.”
A win by Koike is a relief for Kishida’s conservative governing party, which she has long been affiliated with. Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, unofficially backed her campaign.
But in separate supplementary elections for Tokyo’s metropolitan assembly that were eclipsed by the governor’s vote, LDP lost in six of the eight districts where it fielded its own candidates, underscoring still harsh public response to the party’s corruption scandal.

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