Voting for a new governor after scandals
RESIDENTS in Tokyo voted yesterday for a new governor of the sprawling metropolis who will have to manage problem-plagued preparations for the 2020 Olympics and avoid financial scandals that forced the last two incumbents to quit.
The major challenge facing the winner is managing the run-up to Tokyo’s troubled hosting of the 2020 Summer Olympics, especially reining in soaring costs.
Euphoria at securing the right to host sport’s marquee event in 2013 has given way to frustration as preparations have been plagued by gaffes and scandals.
A record 21 candidates are vying to lead the sprawling metropolis of 13.6 million people with an economy the size of Indonesia’s.
Local media surveys, however, suggest it is a three-way race between former defence chief Yuriko Koike, ex-Iwate prefecture governor Hiroya Masuda and veteran TV journalist Shuntaro Torigoe.
Ballot counting began immediately after polls closed at 8pm.
The elections were called after previous governor Yoichi Masuzoe abruptly resigned, felled by a funds scandal centred on lavish spending of public money. He served just over half of his term.
His predecessor Naoki Inose – who had led the successful bid to win the Games – bowed out later that year after becoming embroiled in a personal finance scandal, serving just one year.
Ms Koike, a 64-year-old former TV anchor, speaks fluent English and Arabic – the latter acquired as a student in Cairo – and has also served as federal environment minister.
The winner’s term will run until
just after the Games commence and how they handle the run-up will be closely watched.
A key challenge will be getting a grip on swelling costs, seen as possibly double or triple the reported original forecast of 730 billion yen (US$6.92 billion). –
Former defence minister Yuriko Koike, a candidate for the Tokyo gubernatorial elections, campaigns on July 30.