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Koike keeps his distance from the LDP in the gubernatorial elections in Tokyo; Campaign becomes a two-horse race against Renho

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Political party support for major candidates in Tokyo’s gubernatorial election

The upcoming Tokyo gubernatorial election appears to be a two-horse race, and the calculations of both the ruling and opposition parties are likely to have a major impact on the election campaign.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike announced Wednesday that she would seek a third term as leader of the capital. Renho, a member of the House of Councilors, appears to be Koike’s main rival in the July 7 elections, which will largely depend on how voters perceive the governor’s eight years in charge of the metropolitan government.

Wednesday was the last day of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly’s regular session. At the end of that day’s plenary, Koike took the stage and announced her determination to participate in the gubernatorial election.

“I will work to promote the governance of the capital for the people of Tokyo and with the people of Tokyo,” Koike said.

Koike was first elected governor in July 2016. She has skillfully handled a series of issues during her first term, including quickly deciding to postpone the planned relocation of Tsukiji Market to Toyosu due to contaminated soil at the new location, and reviewing some Olympic and Paralympic venues in Tokyo. in an effort to contain rising costs. Her second term was dominated by overseeing the Tokyo Games and tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

After announcing her candidacy, Koike told reporters she planned to continue tackling issues such as an aging and declining population, natural disasters and urban development. Asked about election promises, Koike replied: “In a nutshell: I will protect the capital. That means protecting lives, livelihoods and the economy, and taking steps that lead to sustainable growth.” Koike is expected to announce details of her policy soon.

Avoiding ‘loss by default’

Koike, 71, plans to run as an independent. She initially considered accepting the well-organized support of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito during the campaign. However, revelations that several LDP factions have been involved in a political funds scandal have led to growing public discontent with the ruling party, so Koike decided that it would be easier to gain voters’ support if they did not reject the recommendation would ask of a political party.

Nevertheless, the LDP wants to avoid a “loss by default”. The Federation of Tokyo Metropolitan Branches decided to “fully support” Koike in the elections during a meeting on Monday. As a sign of attention to Koike’s desire not to be colored by the brush of a political party, the LDP is expected to participate as a “recognized organization” that can engage in political activities during the election campaign.

The LDP’s decision to delay recommending a candidate who had supported Koike in the April House of Representatives by-election for Tokyo Constituency No. 15 resulted in the party’s votes being spread among several candidates goods.

“The party must be willing to provide support as an organization if we want to make this a contest we can win,” a senior LDP official told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Komeito Secretary General Keiichi Ishii, whose party has cordial ties with Koike in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, also said in a radio program on Tuesday that his party’s participation as a “recognized organization” was an option. “We will support her of our own accord,” Ishii said.

Tomin First no Kai (Tokyo First Group), a regional political party for which Koike serves as a special advisor, also plans to endorse her candidacy. Each of these parties will probably support Koike on its own initiative.

Renho tempers the comments

Renho submitted a letter of resignation to the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan on Wednesday. “I’m a contender,” Renho told reporters that day with a stern face. “I want to bring a fresh approach.”

When Renho officially announced her candidacy on May 27, she initially stated that she would “reset” the Tokyo government led by Koike, which she said was “keeping the LDP government afloat.” However, her criticism of popular policies, such as support for children’s education, sparked resistance from many Tokyo residents. Since then, Renho, 56, has toned down her language in public speeches and other situations. She has quietly stopped using the word “reset.”

The CDPJ laid out a strategy by which the party would help Renho, its main debater, to victory in the Tokyo elections, and then build on this momentum for the next House of Representatives elections. At a party meeting on Wednesday, Jun Azumi, chairman of the CDPJ Dietary Affairs Committee, said: “We must make this an election in which the people of Tokyo pass judgment on the ‘money and politics’ scandals.”

The Japanese Communist Party has also expressed its full support for Renho. The JCP wants to make its presence known to the CDPJ as the opposition parties move towards possible cooperation in the next House of Commons elections. The opposition Social Democratic Party will also support Renho.

However, the Democratic Party for the People is reluctant to work closely with the JCP and could rally behind Koike. The Japan Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), a group that supports the DPFP, is also considering supporting the incumbent party. The Japan Innovation Party opted not to field a candidate after deciding no one was suitable.

“If we had forced ourselves to nominate a candidate, it could have taken away some of Ms. Koike’s votes,” admitted a senior JIP official. “This time we decided she would owe us one.”

Web: Koike keeps distance from the LDP in the Tokyo gubernatorial elections; Campaign becomes a two-horse race against Renho



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