UPDATE: Koike won.
If Yuriko Koike can win today’s election to be Tokyo’s governor , it will be a far more significant event in cracking the glass ceiling in Japan’s male-dominated, endemically misogynistic political system, than Hillary Clinton’s achievement in being the first woman to be nominated for President by a major party. The polls have been vaguely – if ambiguously – encouraging for Koike, but she has been subject to much vilification from the establishment candidate. She has been a member of parliament since 1993 for the LDP and even stood for leadership of the LDP in 2008. She served as Environment Minister and as Minister for Okinawa in Jun’ichirō Koizumi’s government. She even served as Defense Minister in Shinzo Abe’s government but resigned after 2 months due to an internal fight within the LDP.
In the Tokyo gubernatorial elections she is standing as an independent – which has not pleased the LDP. She is one of 21 contenders but the three leading contenders are former Defence Minister Yuriko Koike, politician Hiroya Masuda and journalist Shuntaro Torigoe.
BBC:…. Sunday’s election was called after previous governor Yoichi Masuzoe resigned last month. He faced fierce criticism over allegations he used official funds to pay for holidays, art and comic books for his children. Mr Masuzoe, who won election promising a scandal-free administration, denied breaking the law, but admitted to ethical lapses around his lavish spending.
His predecessor, Naoki Inose also quit over a funding scandal in 2013, soon after Tokyo won the right to host the Olympics. Since then Tokyo’s preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympics have been hit by scandals, overspending, administrative fumbles and construction delays.
One of the new governor’s first duties will be to travel to Rio at the end of the 2016 Olympics in August to accept the Olympic flag as the next host.
The Japan Times writes of the 3 main candidates:
…. Koike, a 64-year-old former TV anchorwoman, speaks fluent English and Arabic — the latter acquired as a student in Cairo — and has also served as environment minister. …
Masuda, also 64 and backed by the ruling coalition — which spurned Koike for not seeking its approval before announcing her candidacy — is a veteran administrator who won plaudits as governor of Iwate for 12 years until 2007.
Also in the running is 76-year-old Torigoe, a liberal journalist widely known for his ubiquitous TV appearances and also as a cancer survivor.
The winner’s term will run until just after the games commence, and how the new governor handles the run-up will be closely watched. A key challenge will be getting a grip on swelling costs, seen as possibly double or triple the reported original forecast of ¥730 billion ($6.92 billion).
Counting begins at 8pm local time which is in a few hours from now.
Tags: Yuriko Koike