The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is making final arrangements to support Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s re-election in a July gubernatorial race, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.
The LDP, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is seeking to maintain close coordination between the central government and Koike amid prospects that the Tokyo Olympics this summer may have to be postponed due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
The July 5 gubernatorial election will be held as the current four-year term is ending for Koike, who has been critical of Abe’s administration at times.
The upcoming election comes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, currently scheduled to begin on July 24, though the new coronavirus pandemic has raised uncertainty about the schedule.
Abe indicated Monday for the first time that postponing the Olympics and Paralympics is a possibility if the games cannot be held in their “complete form,” meaning that there will be spectators and no downsizing.
LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai has expressed support for Koike’s re-election even though the LDP’s Tokyo chapter has been seeking a viable candidate since last year.
The LDP headquarters is expected to urge the local chapter not to field anyone in the gubernatorial election to avoid a face-off with Koike, according to the sources. Official campaigning is set to start on June 18.
In 2016, Koike became the first-ever female Tokyo governor after beating a candidate supported by the LDP.