On Sunday, July 31st, Yuriko Koike was elected into office as the first ever female Governor of Tokyo. Winning handily with over 1 million more votes than her closest opponent, she is running on a platform of promoting better conditions for women and desires to rebuild trust with the people of Tokyo after the financial issues of her predecessor.
“I will lead Tokyo politics in an unprecedented manner, a Tokyo you have never seen,” she said after being successfully elected.
After the election, Mrs. Koike was calm and collected. It was this same confidence that propelled her to winning the election and endeared her to voters. She ran a savvy campaign where she was positioned as the underdog and as the candidate for change, the candidate that the established powers did not want. Such positioning was based in truth, as she ran her campaign without consulting The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP), drawing establishment ire.
An unconventional candidate in more ways than one, Koike is a graduate of Cairo University in Egypt, a fluent Arabic speaker, and former journalist. As such, she has an expanded and global view that can give direction to Tokyo going forward. Such qualities will also work in her favor as the city turns its view towards the 2020 Summer Olympics.
With the Olympics, the whole world’s eyes will be on Tokyo and will be a chance for the city to present itself positively to tourist and investors. Koike has proven to know how important the opportunity is as she said “The Olympics are right in front of us. I want to use them as a chance to build a new Tokyo for beyond 2020”, as the Olympics may result in a stronger economy after the event is complete.