Tokyo's first female governor

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be another scorcher...not that that's news, is it? It'd be really big news if it was going to be cool or at least cooler...but nope, not yet. And it's not looking like it's going to cool down anytime soon with highs all week expected to be between 33C and 35C.

Former defense minister Yuriko Koike has won Sunday's Tokyo gubernatorial election by a wide margin, becoming the first woman to lead the metropolis and taking on the goal of setting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics up for success.

Thanking her supporters in the evening after her victory was clear, the 64-year-old Koike said, "While feeling the weight of this result, I want to thoroughly push the metropolitan government forward as the new governor."

A record 21 candidates discussed their vision for the metropolis during the 17-day campaign period, including how to ensure success of the 2020 Games, and dealing with a shortage of facilities to care for Tokyo's oldest and youngest residents.

They also promised the prevention of money-related scandals like those that saw the previous two governors step down. Masuzoe, a former health and welfare minister, resigned last month after admitting to using political funds for private purposes. He had come under fire for using official cars on frequent visits to his vacation home and for large spending on overseas business trips.His predecessor Naoki Inose quit in December 2013 over a money scandal linked to his election campaign.

Koike defeated such leading candidates as former internal affairs minister Hiroya Masuda, 64, and former TV news anchorman Shuntaro Torigoe, 76.

With 96.48 percent of the ballots counted, she had received nearly 2.85 million votes, dwarfing Masuda's 1.75 million votes and Torigoe's 1.31 million votes.

She is set to serve a four-year term as governor.

Koike, formerly a lawmaker with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, ran without the party's endorsement, effectively splitting the LDP vote. She initially appealed to the party's Tokyo chapter for support, but the chapter threw its weight behind Masuda, a former governor of Iwate Prefecture.

It was the first Tokyo gubernatorial election since 1999 in which voters faced a choice between at least two candidates from the LDP.

During the campaign, Koike promised to "put the metropolitan government back into the hands of Tokyo's people."

In order to address the shortage of day care facilities for young children, Koike pledged to loosen regulations to increase the number of care workers.

According to electoral authorities, the final voter turnout stood at 59.73 percent, up 13.59 percentage points from the last election in February 2014 of 46.14 percent, while 1,708,195 people cast early votes during the campaign period, up 70 percent from last time.

Tokyo had 11,274,080 million eligible voters as of July 13, the day before the campaigning started.

Koike's term is set to take her through to the eve of the 2020 Games, but her campaign promise to rationalize the budget has raised concerns among some on the organizing committee.

With building material costs and counterterrorism provisions threatening to take the organizing committee's budget beyond its capacity, Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori, Olympic minister Toshiaki Endo and then-Tokyo Gov. Masuzoe agreed March 31 that the metropolitan government would shoulder some new building costs.

It'll be interesting to see how she implements her ideas. The first thing she is going to have to do is mend some fences with the LDP as that party controls about two-thirds of the votes in the Tokyo Assembly. I hope she's successful-it would a lot for women in politics in Japan if she were able to pull this off.

What do you think about her as governor?

Have a great day!


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