Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: Candidate Profile for Governor Yuriko Koike

This is the first of many profiles on the candidates running for governor.

The goal of these profiles is to get readers to know all the candidates on one website. I want to help people find information with minimal effort.

This first post will focus on the incumbent governor Yuriko Koike and her policies.


Source: Cabinet Public Relations Office, Cabinet Secretariat (CC BY 4.0)

Name/Age: Yuriko Koike/67 years old

Career: Member of the House of Representatives (1993~2016)・Minister of Defense (2007)・Minister of the Environment (2003~2006)

Political Party: Leader of the Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First)

Official WebsiteTwitter

2020 Policies

“Tokyo Great Reform 2.0” (campaign slogan) can be broken down into 4 sections. 

  1. COVID-19 Response
  2. Life after COVID-19 (Safety/Economic Recovery)
  3. Social Welfare (A Tokyo for the People)
  4. Administrative reform of the municipal government 

① COVID-19 Response

  • A Tokyo version of the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) 
  • Reinforcing PCR and other testing mechanisms
  • A health care system available for every patient (with or without COVID-19)
  • Supporting hospitals and health care workers
  • Reinforcing the emergency transport system (ambulances/emergency response)
  • Stocking medical supplies like masks and hand sanitizer
  • Supporting the development of a vaccine/treatment for COVID-19

② Life after COVID-19 (Safety/Economic Recovery)

  1. Reinforcing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Reinforcing testing capabilities & the health care system 
  • Establishing a “new normal” that balances safety & economic recovery
  1. Revitalizing the economy through rapid digitalization
  • Strengthening presence as a global financial hub and implementing 5G technology
  • Supporting startups and new businesses born in Tokyo 
  • Supporting training, hiring, employment of ICT personnel
  • Promoting sustainable recovery (protecting the environment while recovering economically)
  • Institutionalizing new work styles (ex. work from home, staggered work hours, satellite offices) 
  • Digitalizing education, medical consultations, and public services 
  1. Developing a Tokyo that is both attractive and resilient 
  • Improving the response to multiple disasters (viral, storm/floods, earthquakes, etc.)
  • Developing an attractive city through arts, culture, and sports
  • Creating a Tokyo high line similar to the one in New York 
  • Promoting the Tama/Tosho region 
  • Reinforcing public transportation networks

③ Social Welfare

  1. Creating a city where children and women can thrive
  • Further reducing the number of children on nursing school waiting lists (already cut by 70%)
  • Supporting women (ex. Creating a safe environment for pregnancy and delivery)
  • Measures to address child poverty (ex. online education/learning English)
  1. Help senior citizens remain active 
  • Measures to address second-hand smoking & cancer 
  • Addressing frailty which helps improves immunity 
  • Providing opportunities for senior citizens to continue working and/or learn
  • Reinforcing the health care system for dementia and elderly care
  1. Creating an inclusive society that accepts diversity
  • Promoting the establishment of social firms (businesses that employ people with disabilities or others who are disadvantaged in the labor market)
  • Increasing accessible (i.e. “barrier-free”) facilities 
  • Supporting sexual/gender minorities
  • Hosting the Olympic/Paralympic Games in a form approved by the people
  • Promoting and hosting international tournaments for disabled athletes like the Deaflympics 
  • Promoting animal welfare and an inclusive society

④ Administrative reform of the municipal government 

  1. Improving the quality of public service through digitalization
  • Digitalizing paperwork, improving operational efficiency, heightening the awareness of public/civil servants
  • Promoting the 4 “lesses”: paperless, seal-less (hanko), cashless, touchless 
  1. “Wise spending” of the metropolitan budget
  • Reexamining all projects, restructuring organizations, and merging/closing down affiliate organizations (funded by the government but not part of its organizational structure)
  • Promoting the use of private-sector workers through programs like increasing mid-career recruitment
  1. Promoting the greater Tokyo plan 
  • Decentralizing authority and financial resources from national to local governments
  • Regional collaboration to respond to pandemics and other disasters
  • Solving the problem of double/triple administration over certain areas

First Impressions

  • Avoided making any concrete commitments like 4 years ago
  • Still likes to use catchy phrases (usually in katakana) like “wise spending” or the 4 “lesses”
  • The 7 zeros pledged in 2016 have disappeared from this year’s campaign promises (maybe they realized it was unrealistic?)

The 2020 policies focus on the COVID-19 response and economic policies. There’s less focus on policies (ex. environment) she advocated for 4 years ago.

Most of all, Koike decided to opt for restraint rather than boldness (none of the zero stuff anymore). It seems like being the incumbent means you can be restrained in terms of pledges (especially since incumbents get reelected almost every time).

The key to a winning campaign will most likely be a balance between showing her achievements as governor and presenting sound policy for this upcoming term.

The next post will focus on Koike’s accomplishments in her first term as governor. Other candidates’ policies will also be posted in the near future.

20 thoughts on “Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: Candidate Profile for Governor Yuriko Koike

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