Tokyo’s governor promises firm response against COVID-19 after re-election

Tokyo, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- Tokyo’s governor on Monday promised a firm response to a possible second wave of coronavirus infections in the capital after winning a second term with a landslide victory in the recent elections.

Yuriko Koike, 67, who ran as an independent, obtained over 3.66 million votes, around 60 percent more than the 2.91 million votes she had secured in the 2016 elections, when she became the first woman to be governor of Tokyo.

The number of votes Koike won is also the second largest in the history of Tokyo’s gubernatorial elections, after the 4.33 million votes obtained in 2012 by Naoki Inose, writer and biographer of great literary figures such as Yukio Mishima and Osamu Dazai.

Koike beat the other 21 candidates by a wide margin, including Kenji Utsunomiya, a former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, who came second with 844,151 votes; Taro Yamamoto, ex-actor and leader of opposition party, Reiwa Shinsengumi, who secured 657,277, and Taisuke Ono, former vice-governor of Kumamoto, who obtained 612,530.

The voter turnout at the elections, held on a rainy Sunday, was 55 percent, 4.73 points less than in the previous elections.

“I will protect Tokyoites’ lives and livelihood against the coronavirus and devise an economic strategy,” Koike, 67, told reporters Monday while outlining her objectives for the second term, local news agency Kyodo reported.

“This is an important time to be prepared for the second wave of the coronavirus. We want to respond to it firmly,” she added.

The former defense and environment minister’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic has been assessed favorably by more than 60 percent of voters and appears to have been one of the factors contributing to her re-election.

Tokyo has more than 6,700 COVID-19 cases, about one third of the country’s over 20,000 cases.

The Japanese capital has been experiencing a daily spike in infections, with over 100 cases being reported for four, consecutive days before Sunday.

Koike met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday to discuss possible measures against the virus and the holding of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, which have been postponed until the summer of 2021 due to the pandemic.

The governor pledged to coordinate with the International Olympic Committee, keeping in mind the situation of the epidemic in the participating countries and the policies of the concerned sports organizations. EFE-EPA


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