Tokyo elected its first female governor on Sunday. Yuriko Koike will take the charge after her two predecessors resigned over scandals related to the funding of the 2020 Olympic Games, to be held in Tokyo.
Though not all the votes have been counted, Japanese media are confident that Koike, 64, is the winner of Sunday’s elections. Koike announced its candidacy, even without having the support of her party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). She took the chance, and it has paid off, winning by a clear margin. Apparently, people of Tokyo were inspired by her tenacity and independence, after she wasn’t backed up by her own party due to possible sexist reasons.
Koike: A strong but unusual governor
Koike has become the first female to assume as governor of the city of Tokyo. Having a governmental position is not a new thing for her. She has been Minister of Defense, Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs and Minister of the Environment.
Koike was born in Ashiya, Hyogo in Japan. She studied at the University of Cairo. She correctly speaks Arabic, which is rather uncommon among Japanese people. She is also a recognized columnist.
Koike was running against two male rivals. One of them is Hiroya Matsuda, who was the leader of Koike’s party. He claimed he should represent the party since he has served as governor of rural prefectures, at the northern Honshu, far away from Tokyo.
The third place finisher is a member of the opposition, Shuntaro Torigoe, a journalist. Though Koike seemed to be the most recognized candidate, she apparently has been criticized by her opponents using sexist comments.
#Japan's former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike is set to be #Tokyo's first female governor: exit polls by local media pic.twitter.com/fvtJ8Bbpox
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) July 31, 2016
Koike has big plans for Tokyo
Tokyo, which is the home for more than 13 million citizens, is expecting to leave behind recent scandals involving the last two mayors. Koike must return Tokyo’s political stability. She has addressed issues related to women, work, and social security. She plans to improve the representation of women in powerful posts.
Additionally, she is focused on environment sustainability issues since she has promoted the “cool biz” policy in Japan, to reduce the use of air conditioner in working places, decreasing thus CO2 emissions and energy consumption rates.
Something that is also keeping Koike busy is the preparation for the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games. She said she is too busy to attend the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games, but she will probably be there at the closing when the Olympic flag will be handed over to her.
Ceremony marks 4 years to go before Tokyo hosts Olympics: https://t.co/JjVjdnb1S7 pic.twitter.com/vGeVj1cN1w
— NBC OlympicTalk (@NBCOlympicTalk) July 24, 2016
Source: NPR News