Vot­ing for a new gov­er­nor af­ter scan­dals

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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). –

Photo: AFP

Former de­fence min­is­ter Yuriko Koike, a can­di­date for the Tokyo gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tions, cam­paigns on July 30.

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