Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike at the Prime Minister’s Office (Kantei) in Tokyo on March 12. The governor presented urgent requests related to measures against the new coronavirus infection.
Koike commented on the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of a pandemic, saying, “Our fight against an invisible enemy is intensifying.” She asked for financial support from the central government and urged more robust collaboration between the national and local governments. The prime minister expressed gratitude for the Tokyo government’s response to the request for a school closure and said, “We are prepared to cooperate with the Tokyo government.”
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is seeking to field a candidate who will run against Koike in the gubernatorial election in July. However, Abe, who holds the party presidency, is said to be poised to allow Koike’s re-election. Some LDP members speculated about the meeting between the two: “They are perhaps feeling out other LDP party members’ reactions by calling attention to their close relationship over the new coronavirus countermeasures in addition to their shared position on the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.”