Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: Weekly News Roundup for 6/14~6/20

6/14 (SUN)
The Battle for Governor Begins—Numerous Newcomers Challenge Governor Koike (Jiji)

  • Incumbent Yuriko Koike faces off with the likes of Kenji Utsunomiya (backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party, Communist Party, and the Socialist Democratic Party) and Taisuke Ono (backed by the Japan Innovation Party)
  • Per Koike’s request, the Liberal Democratic Party (PM Abe’s party) decided not to back the governor, opting to let members vote on their own 
  • While Utsunomiya and Ono gave stump speeches on the streets, the governor prioritized government work and will outline her policies online sometime in the next week

6/15 (MON)
Reiwa Party’s Leader, Taro Yamamoto, Announces His Bid for Governor—Opposition Parties Can’t Back a Unified Candidate (The Page)

  • Reiwa Shinsengumi’s leader, Taro Yamamoto, put speculation to rest by announcing his candidacy for governor of Tokyo
  • Yamamoto explained that he was running to raise the living standards of the 14 million residents of Tokyo (especially in relation to the pandemic)
  • Policies include canceling next year’s Olympic games and providing 10,000 yen cash handouts to all Tokyo residents

6/16 (TUE)
The Koike Dilemma: Diet Liberal Democrats and Tokyo Lib-Dems Differ on Their Opinions of the Governor (Tokyo Shimbun)

  • The battle between Governor Koike and the Tokyo Liberal Democrats began right after the 2016 election—in order to limit the LDP’s powers, Koike made several moves such as abolishing the system of reflecting each party’s budget requests and proved her friendship with the party by meeting several times with an LDP leader Toshihiro Nikai (#2 in the party)
  • At the end of 2019, Tokyo Liberal Democrats planned to nominate a rival candidate to the 2020 governor race, only to abandon the plan upon seeing Koike’s popularity among the electorate (and pressure from the party leadership)
  • Koike decided not to ask the LDP to nominate her as their candidate—the LDP decided against supporting her, balancing out the party’s interests with the Tokyo LDP’s interests
  • While the Tokyo Liberal Democrats are skeptical of Koike, the party (mostly comprised of the Diet LDP) wants an amicable relationship with her (especially because the Tokyo assembly members could not find a viable challenger)

6/17 (WED)
Tokyo Gubernatorial Election—21 Candidates Register Before the Deadline Tomorrow (NHK)

  1. Incumbent Governor Yuriko Koike (67)
  2. Former President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, Kenji Utsunomiya (73)
  3. Former Vice-Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture, Taisuke Ono (46)
  4. Leader of The Party to Protect the People From NHK, Takashi Tachibana (52)
  5. Leader of Reiwa Shinsengumi, Taro Yamamoto (45)
  6. Free Journalist, Hitoshi Ishii (55)
  7. Event Producer, Hiroshi Ichikawa (58)
  8. Former Businessman, Kenichi Iwahashi (52)
  9. President of a Nonprofit Organization, Seiichi Oshikoshi (61)
  10.  Former Nursing Care Staff, Hiroshi Komiyama (46)
  11.  Secretary to an Entrepreneur (supported by the NHK party), Kenichiro Saito (39)  
  12.  Leader of the Japan First Party, Makoto Sakurai (48)
  13. Former Employee at Asahi Shimbun (Newspaper), Hideyuki Takemoto (64)
  14. Ex-Ground Self-Defense Force Official, Hisao Naito (63)
  15. Pharmacist Yasuhiro Nagasawa (34)
  16. Public Relations Director of The Happiness Realization Party, Hiroko Nanami (35)
  17. Singer Makoto Nishimoto (33)
  18. Sports Instructor Mariko Hisada (54)
  19. Social Activist Masayuki Hiratsuka (38)
  20. President of a Consulting Firm, Makoto Furuta (73)
  21. Real Estate Businessperson, Setsuo Yamaguchi (70)

6/18 (THUR)
Deadline to Run for Governor Has Passed but Political Parties Remain Reluctant to Support Candidates Who Begin Campaigning (Mainichi Shimbun)

PoliciesYuriko KoikeKenji UtsunomiyaTaisuke OnoTaro YamamotoTakashi Tachibana
COVID-19Creating a Tokyo ver. of the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)Supporting the socially vulnerable populationsBalancing economic recovery and the pandemic response10,000 yen handout to every citizen in TokyoOppose excessive self-restraint (stay at home)
Tokyo 2020 Olympic GamesStreamline and host next yearWill let experts decidePostpone until 2024CancelPostpone until 2024
Integrated Resort/Casino BidEvaluate the pros/consOpposeIn favorOpposeIn favor
What they said in their first speechSuccess for womenAgainst privatization of public hospitalsHow Tokyo and local regions should beCalled for supportCriticising the NHK (Japan Broadcast Corp.)

6/19 (FRI)
Reiwa Party’s Leader Yamamoto Has His First Unannounced “Guerrilla” Speech (Sports Hochi)

  • Believes COVID-19 should be recognized as a disaster; criticized Governor Koike for not asking the national government to designate it as a disaster (would make the Basic Act on Disaster Management applicable to COVID-19; can request people to leave property among other things)
  • Will procure 15 trillion yen (approx. $140 billion) through municipal bonds to fund the 10,000 yen (approx. $94) handouts to every Tokyo citizen 
  • Talked about finding an alternative way for athletes to compete domestically (not the Olympic Games)

6/20 (SAT)
New Mainichi Poll Says 51% of Respondents Want Koike to Remain Governor Mainichi Shimbun

  • The poll asked which of the 5 candidates (supported by parties represented in the Diet) respondents would want to see as the next governor—51% said Koike should remain governor
  • Other candidates: 10% chose Utsunomiya, 8% chose Yamamoto, 7% chose Ono, and 2% chose Tachibana
  • When asked whether the Olympic Games could be held next year, only 21% said the Games could be held, while 59% responded that it could not

Image: Morio (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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