Yuriko Koike Wins Third Term as Tokyo Governor

Yuriko Koike Wins Third Term as Tokyo Governor
Above: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks to the media after winning the Tokyo gubernatorial election on July 07, 2024 in Tokyo, Japan. Image copyright: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Stringer/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • The first female governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, won her third consecutive term on Sunday. Koike netted over 42% of the vote and will serve for a four-year term.

  • Koike's tenure leading the city of 13.5M coincided with it hosting the Olympics, the COVID pandemic, and the introduction of childcare subsidies. A declining city-wide birth rate, disaster preparedness, and the economy were key issues of the campaign.


The Spin

Narrative A

It is heartening that female candidates performed well in this election, as Japan lags behind the rest of the developed world in terms of gender equality. Japan has never had a female prime minister, and women in politics are often evaluated based on their looks instead of their substance. While the election was a notably sleepy one, it still represented a solid step forward.

Narrative B

This election was emblematic of everything that's gone awry with Japanese politics. A proliferation of fringe and joke candidates muffled real opposition to an entrenched status quo that the population is growing disaffected with. An incumbent has never lost an election in Tokyo, and Koike benefited from apparent connections to the news media to boot. There's little to write home about in this election.


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