• Kyodo

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Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Tuesday she will officially take over the leadership of a political group for which she currently serves as special adviser ahead of the upcoming Tokyo assembly election on July 2.

Koike will assume the leadership of the group, Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First), on Thursday when it holds a kickoff meeting for its election campaign.

The move is likely an attempt to boost the popularity of the group in the run-up to the vote, as was demanded by candidates backed by the group and their supporters.

“I have decided to put myself in the position as its head in order to carry the spirit of Tokyo residents first,” said Koike, who became the group’s special adviser in April. “I will lead this group from the standpoint of the need to accelerate reforms.”

Koike’s group has announced 45 candidates with the aim of securing a majority in the capital’s 127-seat assembly through an alliance with Komeito and other political forces.

A former defense minister and environment minister, Koike became the first female Tokyo governor in August last year.

Tomin First was formed the following month by Tokyo assembly members supporting Koike and is currently headed by Kazusa Noda, a special secretary to the governor.

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