(Update: adds exit poll results and Koike quotes)
Tokyo, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Tokyo’s incumbent governor Yuriko Koike is likely to have renewed her mandate for another four years, according to exit polls from local elections on Sunday.
Koike, 67, a former minister of defense and environment, is predicted to have won almost 60 percent of the votes, according to exit polls carried out by public television channel NHK.
She was the favorite to win the elections as an independent candidate with the support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which decided not to field a candidate.
There were 22 candidates in the running, the highest in the Japanese capital’s history, but few caused serious concern for Koike, who has enjoyed a boost in popularity thanks for her role organizing the Olympic Games scheduled for July 2021.
“I feel a great responsibility for this election and surely it is for the result of what has been done over the past four years,” she said in a message broadcast online shortly after the polling stations closed.
The election campaign over the last 17 days has focused on measures taken to tackle Covid-19 and the city hosting the Olympic Games next summer.
Tokyo reported 131 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest number since a state of emergency was lifted on 25 May.
It was also the third consecutive day that more than 100 new cases were detected, bringing the capital’s total to 6,654.
“I am going to present a complementary budget for people who have made a great effort to avoid contagion,” Koike added.