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Koike’s Crushing “Proxy War” Victory

Chiyoda Ward Mayor Masami Ishikawa

SNA (Tokyo) — Masami Ishikawa won a 5th term as Mayor of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, by a convincing margin, seeing off the challenge of two other candidates, including Makoto Yosano, who was backed by the Liberal Democratic Party establishment.

Seen as “proxy war” between Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike against the ruling party to which she is still formally a member, the outcome in the governor’s favor was stunning. Exit polling by the Asahi Shinbun found that 84% of the voters say they support the governor versus only 14% who do not support her.

These elections garnered national attention as they are seen as indicating the likely outcome of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections scheduled for July 2. Voter turnout was 53.7%, up sharply from the 42.3% turnout in the previous Chiyoda mayoral election.

Makoto Yosano was performance was clearly disappointing since he had strong backing from the Tokyo Chapter of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Several government ministers, including Nobuteru Ishihara and Tamayo Marukawa, gave street speeches in support of Yosano. Though a newcomer to politics, he is the nephew of Kaoru Yosano, who held numerous senior Cabinet positions in his long political career.

The third candidate, Asao Igarashi, was an independent with far less institutional backing.

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