National / Politics

Election for Tokyo governor looks set for July 5, three weeks before Olympics

JIJI

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Election Administration Commission plans to set a gubernatorial election for July 5 next year, the furthest away from the July 24 opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that it can hold the vote under the public office election law, according to informed sources.

The commission hopes to minimize the impact from the election on the quadrennial sporting event, the sources said.

The official campaign period for the election is expected to start on June 18. The voting day and the campaign start date are likely to be officially decided as early as next week, the sources said.

Incumbent Gov. Yuriko Koike’s term will end on July 30 next year. The law stipulates that a gubernatorial election must be held within 30 days of the expiration of the incumbent governor’s term.

With the Olympic torch relay set to arrive in Tokyo on July 10, some experts had called for holding the election earlier.

The possibility of the state drawing up a bill to establish a special law to move up or push back the Tokyo gubernatorial election has attracted media attention, but no concrete considerations on such a move have been made.

The commission judged that it is necessary to decide the schedules for the election by around this time, over eight months before Koike’s term ends, in order to secure polling stations, among other reasons.

Koike, who is in her first term as Tokyo governor after her election win in 2016, has not announced whether she will seek a second term, but many sources said she is eager to run again.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s Tokyo branch, which is at odds with Koike, has set up a selection panel for fielding its own candidate. But some Tokyo assembly members said that there is no need for the LDP to hurry and that the candidate can be picked by as late as the Golden Week holiday period in May next year.

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