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Japan: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike wins reelection

July 7, 2024

Koike managed to fend off a record 55 challengers who sought to lead Tokyo's city government. She is backed by embattled Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who faces low approval and calls to step down.

Tokyo incumbent Governor Yuriko Koike gestures after her win on Sunday, July 7, 2024
Koike is a powerful woman in a country whose politics is dominated by menImage: Hiro Komae/AP/picture alliance

Tokyo conservative Governor Yuriko Koike on Sunday clinched her reelection bid for a third term in office, according to an exit poll from Japanese public broadcaster NHK.   

'I will tackle my third term with all my body and soul'  

Koike, a former journalist and minister, has served as Tokyo's governor since 2016. She will now stay in office for another four years. 

"I believe the voters gave me a mandate for my accomplishment in the past eight years," Koike said at her campaign headquarters in Tokyo. 

"I'm fully aware of my heavy responsibility," she added. "I will tackle my third term with all my body and soul."   

The governor of Tokyo is in charge of the city's government.

The city, which has over 13.5 million people, is Japan's largest and accounts for around one-fifth of the Asian country's GDP. Tokyo's outsized prominence in Japanese affairs means the city's governor is a particularly influential position. 

Koike an ally of embattled Japanese PM Fumio Kishida

Koike defeated 55 challengers to win another term. She is unofficially backed by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of the nation's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who faces low approval and calls to step down amid a fundraising scandal.   

During the gubernatorial campaign, challengers criticized Koike's ties to Kishida and the LDP

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a plenary session in the House of Representatives
Koike's win is good news for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Image: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Independent candidate Shinji Ishimaru, a former banker and mayor of the city of Akitakata in the western Hiroshima Prefecture,  unexpectedly came in second place in the vote.

Renho Saito, a former journalist, came in third. Renho was supported by Japan's main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ). 

wd/rm (Reuters, AP)