• Kyodo


Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s new political party is leading the race for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, followed closely by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a poll showed Sunday.

The gap is close enough that the forces backing the governor might win a majority in the 127-seat assembly because Koike’s Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First) and Komeito have forged an alliance, according to the weekend telephone survey conducted in the capital by Kyodo News.

The election will be held on July 2.

According to the results, 26.7 percent of the respondents said they plan to vote for Tomin First and 25.9 percent said they would vote for the LDP. About 57.2 percent said they were undecided.

Another 13 percent said they would vote for the Japanese Communist Party and 12.3 percent said they would vote for Komeito, which, at the national level, is part of the LDP-led ruling coalition. About 8.4 percent said they plan to back the Democratic Party, with 1.8 percent backing independents.

Popular support for the Cabinet, headed by LDP leader and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been sinking since the steamrolling of the unpopular conspiracy bill through the Diet, and due to allegations of favoritism linked to Abe regarding a nationalist school operator his wife promoted in Osaka, and a veterinary school project in Shikoku allegedly approved for his friend.

The LDP holds 57 seats in the assembly, followed by Komeito with 22, the JCP with 17, the Democratic Party with seven and Tomin First with six.

“The LDP has faced a lot of criticism lately, so we expected a harsh public evaluation,” said Keiji Furuya, the LDP’s election committee chief, adding that the conservative party will aim to shore up support in key constituencies.

The survey also showed that Koike’s support rate remains high at 66.5 percent, with a disapproval rate of 21.7 percent. Koike, who became Tokyo’s first female governor last July, enjoys higher support from younger voters, the survey said.

One of the key issues in the assembly race is the Tsukiji relocation project the governor announced last week. After months of debate, Koike said the famed fish market will be moved to a polluted-tainted waterfront district nearby while the fish market’s original site is redeveloped into a culinary theme park over roughly five years.

Asked for their opinion on the Tsukiji plan, 54.9 percent said they support it, 31.4 percent said they do not and 13.0 percent said they were undecided or did not answer the question.

Asked which policies the new Tokyo Metropolitan Government should prioritize, 30.6 percent cited measures related to medical and public welfare, 17.9 percent said employment and economic measures, and 17.6 percent said reform of Tokyo’s governance.

About 15.4 percent cited child-rearing measures and 7.2 percent said Tsukiji, while 6 percent said preparations for the 2020 Olympics should be a priority.

The survey covered 1,521 randomly selected households with eligible voters in Tokyo and drew responses from 1,028.

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