National

LDP mulls support for Yuriko Koike's re-election as Tokyo governor

JIJI, Kyodo

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering supporting the re-election of Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike in the July 5 gubernatorial poll, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, who sees Koike as “a candidate who can win,” apparently overrode the wish of the party’s Tokyo chapter, which was aiming to field its own candidate for the gubernatorial election.

Koike trounced the LDP’s candidate in the 2016 Tokyo gubernatorial election.

In the 2017 Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, the LDP suffered a crushing defeat against Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First), a regional party formed by Koike.

Although the LDP Tokyo chapter had been considering its own candidate for the vote, it has faced difficulty in finding a promising choice, the sources said.

In addition, lawmakers mainly from Tokyo have started calling for cooperation with Koike, saying that now — amid the spread of the novel coronavirus — is not the time to fight her.

At a meeting of senior officials of the LDP’s Tokyo chapter on Monday, most participants agreed to support the governor’s re-election, according to the sources.

Nikai has said he would support Koike if she seeks re-election. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is the LDP president, has told senior officials in the party of his intention to back her.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s budget plan for fiscal 2020 was approved by the city assembly’s budget committee Wednesday, with the LDP voting to support the plan for the first time since fiscal 2017. The move was apparently aimed at avoiding conflict in the wake of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics being postponed due to the pandemic.

Major opposition parties plan to field a unified candidate in the gubernatorial election, but arrangements in pursuit of that goal are not said to have progressed.

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