Tokyo’s first female governor tasked with driving change in the troubled city

japenTOKYO, Japan – Yuriko Koike, 64, created history on Sunday by becoming the first female to be elected as the governor of Tokyo city.

Elections were conducted after two predecessors were forced to resign in the scandals surrounding 2020 Summer Olympics.

Addressing cheering supporters on winning the election, Koike said, “I will lead Tokyo politics in an unprecedented manner, a Tokyo you have never seen.”

Koike, a former defence minister, defeated candidates Hiroya Masuda, member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party and liberal journalist Shuntaro Torigoe and 19 others to win the post.

Exit polls had given Koike first place followed by Masuda and Torigoe.

Koike has earned a city plagued with problems – perched on a high seismic zone it faces other challenges like an ageing population and daycare shortage. Top among the governor’s responsibilities will be to travel to Rio Di Janerio to accept the Olympic flag as the next host country.

Despite the loss, PM Abe’s party will not be adversely effected.

Kenji Yumoto, vice chairman of the Japan Research Institute think-tank reportedly said, “This is basically a Tokyo issue. Abe’s prestige probably won’t be damaged and support for the LDP won’t fall.”

By announcing her candidature without obtaining permission, Koike had angered the Tokyo branch of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party. The party had gone to nominate Masuda, 64, for the post.

Previous governor Yoichi Masuzoe had resigned in June following allegations of misappropriation of funds.

Koike’s win comes at a time when Tokyo’s preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympics have been hit by scandals, overspending, administrative fumbles and construction delays. The games are crucial for the recovery of Japan’s stagnant economy.

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About Cholo Brooks 17147 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.