Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: Weekly News Roundup for 6/7~6/13

6/7 (SUN) 
National Democrats Won’t Back a Single Candidate in the Election (Tokyo Shimbun

  • The National Democratic Party decided to entrust votes to their members
  • They won’t be backing a candidate as a party  
  • Balanced commitments to Governor Koike (many members of the NDP used to be a part of Koike’s party) and other opposition parties backing Utsunomiya

6/8 (MON) 
Kumamoto Prefecture’s Vice-Governor Holds a Press Conference Announcing He Will Leave His Current Position to Run for Governor of Tokyo (Mainichi Shimbun)

  • Vice-governor Taisuke Ono held a press conference announcing his bid for the Tokyo governorship
  • Candidate Ono was appointed vice-governor of Kumamoto prefecture in 2012
  • Ono met with the Japan Innovation Party’s (Ishin no kai) leader on 6/7 to solicit support for his campaign

6/9 (TUE)
Kumamoto’s Vice-Governor Announces His Bid for Governor of Tokyo (The Page)

  • At a press conference announcing his bid, vice-governor Ono said “there needs to be a debate on what Tokyo should become, instead of there being no discussion”
  • The vice-governor seemed concerned about the possibility of Koike getting reelected without much of a challenge and debate on policy
  • The candidate will focus on:
    • Responding promptly to the coronavirus pandemic
    • Creating a digital environment suitable for new workstyles (work from home) 
    • Restoring the fiscal “health” of Tokyo
    • Developing a resilient (to disaster) and diverse Tokyo 
  • The Japan Innovation Party stated that they supported Ono’s bid because Governor Koike had failed to achieve any of her “7 Zero” pledged in 2016

6/10 (WED)
Opposition Parties Uncertain Whether Reiwa Party’s Yamamoto Will Run for Governor (Tokyo Shimbun)

  • Rumors are circulating among the opposition parties that Reiwa Shinsengumi’s (anti-establishment party) leader, Taro Yamamoto, is lining up a bid
  • Remains to be seen whether he will actually run for governor considering the fact that the major opposition parties have backed another candidate: Kenji Utsunomiya
  • Earlier, opposition parties had reached out to Yamamoto to see if he wanted to run as an independent with joint-support from the opposition parties, but talks stalled as he wanted to run as Reiwa’s official candidate

6/11 (THUR)
Social Democrats Decide to Support Candidate Utsunomiya (Nikkei)

  • The Social Democratic Party finalized its decision to back former Japan Federation of Bar Associations president Kenji Utsunomiya
  • They joined the Constitutional Democratic Party and Japan Communist Party in supporting the former Bar Association president

6/12 (FRI)
Governor Koike Announces Her Reelection Bid; 15 Others Announce (NHK)

  • Governor Koike announced her reelection bid—named the coronavirus response and preparation for the second wave of cases as her biggest challenge 
  • Candidate Utsunomiya stated that he would use Tokyo’s budget to “protect jobs, housing, lives, and the livelihood” of the citizens of Tokyo
  • 14 other candidates, including Taisuke Ono (backed by the Japan Innovation Party), announced their bid for governor

6/13 (SAT)
Koike Emphasizes “Going Back to the Basics” in Her Reelection Bid Announcement (Sankei Shimbun)

  • In her press conference Friday night, the governor emphasized that she would be campaigning in a similar style to the 2016 campaign in which she won without the support of any political parties 
  • She also announced this bid would serve as a model case for online campaigning 
  • Koike decided to announce her bid on 6/12 after the passage of the supplementary budget and lifting of the “Tokyo alert”—both pillars of the governor’s coronavirus response 
  • Reaffirmed her commitment to the “7 Zeros” she pledged to work on 4 years ago: these include some very interesting policies such as “zero pollen” and “zero packed trains”

Image: Morio (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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