The Tokyo gubernatorial election was held on Sunday, with Yuriko Koike re-elected following the expiration of her current term in office.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still not contained, so Koike ran her election campaign online without taking to the streets. She appealed to the achievements of her first term and the success of her COVID-19 measures, comfortably overwhelming rival candidates as expected.
More than 100 cases of coronavirus infections have been logged in Tokyo on each of the last five days, with Koike stating, “I feel a heavy responsibility for my second term. This is an important time for us to prepare for the second wave of COVID-19.”
The governor said she recognizes the future will face the two difficult problems of controlling infection and supporting the economy.
Regarding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19, Koike has promised to “simplify, reduce costs and proceed with the consensus of the metropolis’ residents.”
In the future, the focus may be on building a collaborative relationship between the national government and the event organizing committee to share additional costs and simplify the event.
Koike did not make clear her position on a potential Tokyo IR during her campaign, stating only, “I expect it will be a tourist base that will boost Japan’s economic growth and competitiveness on the international stage, but there are concerns about issues like gambling addiction.
“We must fully consider the advantages and disadvantages as we pay close attention to national trends.”
The future of Tokyo’s political will for an IR remains mired with problems and there will be questions asked of Koike’s capabilities, but it seems with her reelection a Tokyo IR could return to the table.
The Greater Tokyo Area is the world’s largest urban agglomeration by far with a population of 38 million, of which 14 million live in Tokyo prefecture under Koike’s governorship, and the remainder in surrounding prefectures. The enormous population makes the Greater Tokyo Area an extremely attractive development proposition for the world’s leading IR companies.