Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: What Has Koike Accomplished as Governor?

The previous post focused on introducing Governor Koike’s 2020 policies. This piece will be an extension of that post, looking back at the accomplishments of the Koike administration.

Mind you, the data is selective since most of it comes from Koike’s official website. It is, however, better than nothing, especially provided we have an election approaching.

It provides insight into what Koike has done in the last 4 years.

The Koike administration’s accomplishments can be broken down by section:

  • Child care
  • Supporting women
  • Social welfare/Society
  • Economy
  • Administrative/Financial reform
  • Environment
  • Disaster prevention
  • Others

Child care

① Children on nursery school waiting lists

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • This issue hinders the ability of women to enter the workforce and contributes to low birth rates
  • In 3 years, reduced the number of children on nursery waiting lists by 6,200
  • 2018: appropriated a record high 157.8 billion yen (approx. $1.5 bn) to tackle this issue
  • Will continue to help find/retain skilled workers through different programs

② Expanding child care services

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Increased support to municipalities to develop more nurseries
  • Number of users reached a record high, increasing 15,000 annually for the past 3 years
  • As of April 2019, the number of authorized daycare centers was 3,000+ facilities, while capacity was at 280,000+ children

③ Making child care free

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • The national system to make infant education/child care free began in October 2019; however, for infants between 0-2 years old, only tax exempt households could use the system
  • Tokyo decided to halve child care costs for a second child and eliminate costs for a third child

④ Making private high school education free

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • 2017: Made private school tuition free for households with income less than 7,600,000 yen (approx. $71,292)
  • 2018: Included correspondence high schools (learning mostly from home); alleviated the burden on approx. 60,000 people
  • 2020: Expanded the program to add households with income below 9,100,000 yen (approx. $85,348)

⑤ Domestic production/sale of liquid infant formula (milk)

  • As a result of the 3.11 Tohoku earthquake in 2011, Koike requested the national government to set standards for domestic production/sale of liquid infant formula (began in Aug. 2018)
  • Helps mothers during daily & emergency situations when breast milk/water are unavailable

Supporting women

① Expanding the number of women eligible for fertility treatment

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • An increasing number of women feel they can’t work and undergo fertility treatment at the same time
  • Loosened age/income restrictions for the treatment subsidy program
  • Subsidies for infertility examinations will begin in 2020
  • Would like to support couples that want fertility treatments to conceive a child

② Creating a society where women can thrive

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Tokyo promoted 3.8 times more women to management positions than at the national level

Social welfare/Society

① Zero pet euthanization/exterminations

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Increased opportunities for adoption and provided goods necessary to care for a pet
  • Achieved zero dog euthanizations for the 2nd consecutive year

② Creating a “health first” society

  • Japan is known for its poor effort to address second-hand smoking
  • Created regulations to prevent second-hand smoking in 2018 before the national government
  • Will be implemented beginning April 2020 with penalties

③ Measures to address LGBT discrimination and hate speech

  • In the EU countries and the US, there are laws that prohibit discrimination
  • In anticipation of the Olympic Games, Tokyo implemented regulations that address sexual discrimination & hate speech
  • First prefecture to address discrimination through regulations

④ Setting a standard for “barrier-free” accessible facilities

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Began the “Open Stay Tokyo” program intended to create suitable accommodation facilities for all kinds of people
  • First prefecture to create regulations that set a standard for accessibility in guest rooms (Sept. 2019)
  • Created a program to subsidize renovation efforts

⑤ Provide education programs for senior citizens

  • Created a program for senior citizens interested in starting a business & successors of small/medium-sized businesses at the Tokyo Metropolitan University
  • Began the “premium college” for citizens over the age of 50
  • Will create majors in April 2020 for those who want to continue learning more than a year

⑥ Subsidy program to install devices that reduce car accidents

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Will subsidize 90% of cost to purchase/install a device that will prevent drivers from misstepping on the accelerator pedal (3,000 drivers have purchased between July~Sept. 2019)
  • Those who are over 70 years old in 2019 & live in Tokyo can apply by the end of August 2020

⑦ Creating a safe society for senior citizens

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Increased the number of beds in special nursing homes by approx. 2,500
  • Working on increasing the number of group/service homes
  • Established 52 medical centers for dementia in the metro area


① Promoting remote work

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Implemented “Smooth Biz” (ex. staggered commute) to support remote work
  • 25% in 2019; sharp increase to 62.7% due to COVID-19
  • Established the Tokyo Telework Promotion Center for companies that need help implementing remote work

② Wise fiscal spending

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Evaluated programs & saved 350 billion yen ($3 bn) in 4 years (3 times more money reallocated to budget than before 2016)

③ Promoting government transparency

  • Can check progress of budget bill online
  • Abolished the system “reviving” each political party’s budget requests in 2017

④ Tokyo as a global financial hub

  • Put together the Tokyo version Big Bang in 2017 to attract foreign financial institutions (lowered corporate taxes & utilized special tax measures of Tokyo’s 23 special districts)
  • Established FinCity.Tokyo , whose members include the government & large banks, to allow foreign institutions to open business
  • Named #1 in Asia by the International Finance Centre (Mar. 2020)

⑤ Supporting small/mid-sized businesses

  • 99% of Tokyo’s businesses are small/mid-sized businesses
  • Support these businesses financially & to secure skilled workers
  • In anticipation of the Olympic Games, supported the expansion of businesses & the cultivation of new markets

⑥ The Tokyo Data Highway Initiative

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Applied to install radio stations in order to provide businesses an environment to test 5G

⑦ Issuing green bonds

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • ESG (environmental, social and governance): set of standards that socially conscious investors use to screen investments
  • Issued green bonds to procure funds to implement environmental policies
  • Increase issued bonds to 30 billion yen in 2020
  • Use funds to implement policy and for smart energy city development

Administrative/financial reform

Disclosing information

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Made regulations on preserving official documents stricter
  • Got rid of access fees and started the public records access service; number of disclosed cases hit a record high
    *Other candidates argue that there was withheld information in the Tsukiji fish market relocation and casino bid cases


① Zero emissions by 2050

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Switched the government building’s energy to renewable energy
  • Promote the use of hydrogen energy and zero emission homes
  • Working on urban greening (measures against heat) & retention basins (reduce disaster risk)

② Promoting the use of LED lightbulbs

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Distributed about 740,000 LED lightbulbs between 2018~2019 (1.5 years) to conserve energy
  • Reduced CO2 emissions by 30,000 tonnes (equal to a 1.7 billion yen cut/annual energy use by 20,000 households)

Disaster Prevention

① Act to expedite the removal of utility poles

Source: Official Website of Yuriko Koike
  • Expand support to municipalities to expedite removal of utility poles
  • Completed 97% of removals around the Olympic stadiums and central metro area
    * Taro Yamamoto says poles have increased 2% on municipal roads

② Promoting the Tama/Tosho region

  • Infrastructure development (roads/education facilities) in these non-special district regions (not one of the 23 districts) is slow
  • Increased funding for the comprehensive municipal grant for a 3rd consecutive year
  • Began developing the Tama Toshi monorail line

Other accomplishments

  • Continue 50% cut of governor’s salary
  • End the costly (over 200 billion yen to renew) industrial water supply projects
  • Support arts/culture/artists
  • Enacted the act to eliminate discrimination toward disabled people
  • Improve support to victims of crime and their families through regulations
  • Installed security cameras in school zones of all public elementary schools
  • Set up heat/cooling system in gyms across all public elementary/middle schools
  • Improved online education by providing 1 computer per person
  • Proceeding with projects such as moving the metropolitan expressway underground (Nihonbashi area) & extending the Tama monorail line

Focusing too much on the 7 zeros takes attention away from other achievements. While it’s a problem that Koike failed to achieve many of her 2016 pledges, it doesn’t mean they did nothing in 4 years. The Koike admin achieved other things, some of which will no doubt be continued in the next term (if she wins reelection).

An important thing to do before voting is comparing candidates. We need to identify the most trustworthy candidate who advocates for realistic policies.

Come July 5th, it will be the candidate who satisfies both conditions who walks away the winner.

Image: Morio (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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