The Slatest

Tokyo Elected Its First Female Governor

Yuriko Koike delivers an election campaign speech in Tokyo on Saturday.

Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

A woman made history this week—in Tokyo.

Yuriko Koike of the Liberal Democratic Party—which did not support her in the race—was elected on Sunday to become Tokyo’s first female governor.

From the Japan Times:

Her main rivals were former internal affairs minister Hiroya Masuda, the preferred choice of the LDP-Komeito ruling coalition, and veteran journalist Shuntaro Torigoe, who was backed by the main opposition bloc led by the Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party.


… As the capital’s first female governor, Koike vowed to pursue policies that will promote better conditions for women.

… “I received so much support from women this election. The support made me think deeply that I have a responsibility to work on the issues of waiting lines for day care centers, elderly care and work-life balance,” Koike told reporters.


Koike has served as environment and defense minister (and, before that, worked as a television news anchor). She announced her candidacy before receiving her party’s official blessing, which is why they backed Masuda. Masuda received 1.75 million votes; Koike, 2.85 million.

Tokyo will host the Olympics in 2020. “The Olympics are right in front of us,” Koike said, adding, “I want to use them as a chance to build a new Tokyo for beyond 2020.” Her platform also included returning “Tokyo to its position as Asia’s leading international financial capital by making full use of the city’s ‘special economic zone’ strategy” for the benefit of the city’s more than 13 million residents.