Tokyo Gubernatorial Election 2020: Weekly News Roundup for 6/21~6/27

6/21 (SUN)
Tokyo Gubernatorial Election During COVID-19: On the Ground Campaigning Continues (Mainichi Shimbun)

  • Reiwa Shinsengumi’s leader Taro Yamamoto delivered a speech at Tachikawa station, speaking about the COVID-response and inspiring voters to get out and change society 
  • Incumbent governor Koike campaigned online, answering questions collected on Twitter through the hashtag “I have something to say to Yuriko Koike” (direct translation); first set of answers focused on the “seven zero” pledges made during the 2016 campaign 
  • Kenji Utsunomiya delivered a speech at Nakano station alongside opposition party leaders from the Constitutional Democratic Party, Japan Communist Party, and Social Democratic Party; focused on the need to financially help those staying at home and stressed the need for a government supporting social solidarity rather than self-responsibility (more support from the government)
  • In an attempt to gain name recognition, Taisuke Ono—backed by the Japan Innovation Party— campaigned around the Tama region where he spent his childhood days 
  • The Party to Protect the People From NHK’s leader Takashi Tachibana campaigned around Hachioji station, promising to advocate for minority groups and discussed the consequences of excessive self-restraint on the economy

6/22 (MON)
Survey Shows Koike With a Significant Lead Over Other Candidates (Nikkei)

  • A Nikkei poll shows that Governor Koike holds a sizeable lead over other candidates heading into the election
  • In the polls, she is followed by Kenji Utsunomiya and Taro Yamamoto
  • Koike is supported by a wide range of age groups & 80% of the LDP’s (Liberal Democratic Party) base

6/23 (TUE)
The “Face of the Capital” Who Can Move the Nation: Looking Back at Past Governors (Jiji)

  • There have been 9 governors who took office since WWII; at times, they have the power to influence other prefectures and the national government
  • Often called a “popularity contest” due to the importance of name recognition
  • Tokyo’s budget reaches 15 trillion yen (approx. $140bn)—almost as much as Norway’s national budget 
  • Tokyo is the only prefecture that doesn’t receive tax money from the national government
    • Since they don’t rely on the government for money, governors can implement their own policies freely

6/24 (WED)
Tokyo Governor Race: How Will Polling Stations Deal With COVID-19? (NHK)

  • The metropolitan government created a set of guidelines for administering polling booths
  • Asked voters to utilize the early voting system & recommended people wear masks to the polling stations

6/25 (THUR)
Utsunomiya, Koike, Yamamoto… My Impressions After Meeting the 3 Candidates. Voters Need to Choose a Candidate They Can Be Proud Of. (Harbor Business Online)

  • Kenji Utsunomiya is a sincere person who fights to save heavily indebted people 
  • Governor Koike is a person who uses others to further her own agenda
  • Taro Yamamoto is a compassionate person who is always willing to listen to voters

6/26 (FRI)
Attention Citizens of Tokyo! Government Employees Rate Governor Koike the Lowest Ever, Even Lower than Masuzoe! (Yahoo News)

  • According to Tosei Shinpou (journal that writes about the Tokyo government), the average score employees gave Governor Koike was 46.4% (lower than other governors like Masuzoe who were involved in scandals during their terms)
  • As for reelection, 21.5% support Koike’s bid, while 42.6% oppose her running for a second term
  • Employees say Koike is only interested in boosting her reputation, and controls employees by “purging” those who oppose her

6/27 (SAT)
The Calculations Behind Rumors That “the Focus Is Already on the Competition for 2nd Place” (Toyo Keizai)

  • Governor Koike should be aiming to get at least 2.3 million votes (around 45% of total) 
  • Utsunomiya collected about 1 million votes in 2 previous elections; if he doesn’t reach that number despite being backed by 3 opposition parties, the largest opposition CDP’s leader Edano risks losing control over his party 
  • Depending on the results, Yamamoto could boost his party’s presence in the Diet (election next year) & become a key player in the opposition coalition’s bid to defeat the LDP
  • Ono is a relatively unknown candidate who could ride on the Japan Innovation Party’s coattails to compete for the governorship

Image: Morio (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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