Tokyo, March 24 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party plans to support the reelection of Tokyo Governor 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 also suffered a crushing defeat against Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoite first group), a regional party created by Koike.
Although many in the LDP’s Tokyo chapter have been hoping to field a rival candidate to challenge Koike in the upcoming election, it has been facing difficulty in finding a promising candidate, sources familiar with the situation said.
In addition, lawmakers mainly from Tokyo have started calling for cooperation with Koike, saying that now is not the time to fight her amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.
At a meeting of senior officials of the LDP’s Tokyo chapter on Monday, most participants agreed to support Koike’s reelection, according to the sources.
Nikai has said he would support Koike if she seeks reelection. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is LDP president, has told senior party officials of his intention to back Koike.
The Tokyo metropolitan government’s budget plan for fiscal 2020, including costs related to the Tokyo Olympics, are expected to be voted on Friday. The LDP is likely to agree on the plan to show its support for Koike, the sources said.
Major opposition parties plan to field a unified candidate in the gubernatorial election, but arrangements have not progressed.