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In the Tokyo gubernatorial race, which officially kicked off Thursday, an incumbent governor is seeking re-election for the first time since 2011. The two immediate predecessors of Gov. Yuriko Koike resigned in disgrace over scandals halfway through their four-year term. This gives voters a chance on July 5 to hand down their verdict on Koike’s achievements, which, despite her stunning victory in the race four years ago and subsequent aggressive political gambits, are not very impressive. Although Koike is deemed to be leading the race, she must prove that she can live up to her words.

Four years ago, Koike, then a veteran Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, defied the party leadership and its Tokyo organization to enter and win the race to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe. The following year, her newly formed local party replaced the LDP as the dominant force in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. But her political fortunes waned after her ambitious bid for a return to national politics — as head of yet another new political party — faltered with the party’s disappointing performance in the 2017 Lower House election.

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