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POLITICS

Olympics affecting work for Tokyo governor election

  • January 25, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 1:28 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Jan. 25 (Jiji Press)–Administrative work related to a Tokyo gubernatorial election in July has been affected by the Summer Olympic Games starting later that month in the Japanese capital.

Four of Tokyo’s 23 special wards–Bunkyo, Sumida, Shinagawa and Ota–have told Jiji Press that they decided to change facilities to be used for vote-counting in the July 5 election.

Ota Ward started last autumn to look for an alternative site as a local sports facility that is normally used for vote-counting work will be lent out to a Brazilian handball team for practicing in the run-up to the quadrennial event.

The ward has decided to use an industrial building about 3 kilometers from the sports facility. “We’ll use the building for the first time, so we’ll try to make sure that the vote-counting work will be carried out with no mistakes,” an official of the ward said.

Sumida Ward has secured a hall adjacent to its office building, after it learned last summer that a large local gym conventionally used for vote-counting had been chosen as an official training venue for boxing for the Olympic Games.

“We need to change the layout because the hall is about half the size of the gym,” a Sumida Ward official said, adding that “we also have to review how to send the ballot boxes” to the alternative vote-counting facility.

About 6.62 million people voted in the previous Tokyo gubernatorial election in 2016.

Vote-counting requires speed and accuracy as the work must be completed overnight. Places for vote-counting need to be large enough to accommodate a number of staff workers, as well as be easily accessible from polling stations from which ballot boxes are transported.

The Olympic Games are expected to have less impact on administrative work related to the management of polling stations, which will be set up at relatively small facilities, such as gyms at elementary schools.

Still, some have voiced concerns as to whether a sufficient number of workers for polling station management will be secured for the upcoming gubernatorial election. For related work, many municipalities are seen employing part-timers via staffing agencies.

An official of a Tokyo ward said, “We’re concerned that labor costs could rise reflecting manpower shortages due to the Olympics.”

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