NEW YORK – Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike was named one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017 by Time Magazine on Thursday along with U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“When I first met Yuriko Koike . . . during a trip to Japan in February, I was immediately struck by how her vision was fixed on the future,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a member of the jury.
“In politics and in business, power is often exercised by men, while women must struggle to be heard. As the first female governor of Tokyo … Koike is a trailblazer and an example for Japanese women — and women all around the world,” she said.
“She has both ambition for Tokyo and an acute awareness of the challenges it faces, including addressing climate change, supporting the new digital economy and making her city more sustainable and inclusive,” Hidalgo said.
At a news conference on Friday, Koike said she was honored and hopes to encourage other women to take on challenges in Japan’s male-dominated society.
“First of all, I’d like to say I’m really honored, having been put on Time’s 100 list,” Koike said. “Given that I’ve been selected along with figures such as Prime Minister Abe, I’m really pleased.”
Koike said the title has motivated her to work harder to achieve her goals.
“I’ve received recommendation from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and have been listed as a pioneer. I believe that my efforts to improve transparency at the metropolitan government and to achieve policies that put Tokyo residents first and reform Tokyo since I assumed this my post as (the capital’s) first female governor last year, have been taken into consideration.”
She also said she was hoping that her example could encourage other women to take on challenging goals in male-dominated fields.
“I think Japanese women are too cautious” about leaving their comfort zones, Koike said, adding that she hoped more women would follow suit.
“I’m not sure if I can become a good role model but I wish my efforts could inspire other women to take risks.”
The latest edition of the magazine’s annual list is an eclectic group that also includes Chance the Rapper, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and FBI Director James Comey.
Also on the list were notables mostly from the worlds of government, business, and art and entertainment, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
Among those selected in the Leaders category are the U.S. president, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
This is the second consecutive year for Trump to make the list. Trump staffers Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon also are in the group.
Other notable names include Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, basketball superstar LeBron James, actress Emma Stone and singers John Legend and Ed Sheeran.
Among Japanese, artist Yayoi Kusama, novelist Haruki Murakami, lifestyle consultant Marie Kondo and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have all been put on list in the past.