Tokyo elects first woman governor
Former Japanese Defense Minister Yuriko Koike has won the Tokyo gubernatorial election. She will be the first woman to lead the Japanese capital.
Koike, who ran as an independent, came out ahead of her 2 main rival candidates: former Internal Affairs Minister Hiroya Masuda and journalist Shuntaro Torigoe. Masuda was recommended by the governing coalition and other parties. Four opposition parties backed Torigoe.
Koike scored more than 2.9 million votes, while Masuda obtained nearly 1.8 million, and Torigoe about 1.3 million.
The voter turnout was about 60 percent, nearly 14 percentage points higher than the previous election 2 years ago.
Koike was born in Hyogo Prefecture and is 64 years old.
She graduated from Cairo University in Egypt and worked as a TV newscaster before winning an Upper House seat as a member of the Japan New Party in 1992.
She was elected to the Lower House the following year and held the seat for 8 consecutive terms until she quit in order to run for Tokyo governor.
After belonging to 3 other parties, Koike joined the Liberal Democratic Party in 2003. She served as Environment Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
She became Japan’s first female defense chief when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed her to his first Cabinet in 2007.
During the campaign, Koike pledged to make Tokyo’s policy-making process more transparent. She also promised to review the budget for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, address serious workforce shortages in child daycare centers, and promote urban development while giving consideration to the environment.