Inose leads race for Tokyo governor as 40% of voters ponder their choice

Kyodo

Former Tokyo Vice Gov. Naoki Inose is leading in the race for the Dec. 16 Tokyo gubernatorial election, according to a telephone survey.

Gubernatorial candidates traditionally run as independents under the supposition that they are in the service of the city’s voters. But they don’t refuse endorsements from political parties when they receive them.

Support for Inose, 66, who was named by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara as his successor, stands at 60 to 70 percent among those who back the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).

He also has the backing of about half of those who support the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, according to the Kyodo News survey, which covered 1,037 eligible voters over the weekend. It is not clear how much support he had with the emerging and smaller opposition parties.

Support for nuclear opponent Kenji Utsunomiya, former chief of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, stands at 50 to 60 percent among those backing Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) and the Social Democratic Party, and nearly 40 percent among those backing the Japanese Communist Party. It is not clear how much support he had from the mainstream political parties and Nippon Ishin.

Utsunomiya, also 66, is calling for the elimination of nuclear power in Japan. No margin of error was given for the survey.

Former Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa, 54, is meanwhile fighting an uphill battle to attract supporters of the DPJ, which has not endorsed any candidate.

More telling for the race, however, is that the survey said that 40 percent of the capital’s voters have no idea who to vote for.

When asked what their policy priorities were, 46.1 percent said the economy and employment, while 45.5 percent pointed to measures to deal with the elderly and the welfare system.

Only 7.4 percent cited the capital’s bid to host the 2020 summer Olympics, the survey said.