Tokyo begins voting in local polls

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Tokyo, July 2 (IANS) The people of Tokyo began voting on Sunday to elect representatives to the city’s metropolitan assembly, an election that will also put to test the leadership of Japan’s conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The election is seen as a referendum on Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, elected barely a year ago, who seeks a majority in the city assembly with her new party, Tomin First.

So far, the Tokyo administration was controlled by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which had 57 seats, Efe news reported.

A total of 259 candidates, among them 65 women, are contesting the 127 seats in the assembly.

Some 11.2 million people are eligible to vote across 2,000 polling booths in Tokyo’s 42 districts.

Latest surveys indicate a clear advantage for Koike over Abe, who has been involved in a cronyism scandal, besides the approval of a controversial anti terror law.

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After her resounding victory last summer as the Governor of Tokyo, considered the second most important position in the country after that of the Prime Minister, Koike’s name comes up more often as a challenger to Abe at the helm of the country’s affairs.

Koike, 64, who became the first female Governor of Tokyo, has made a strong pitch for transparency and achieved a popular reduction of the budget for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games while distancing herself from the power dynamics of the traditional parties.

The Tokyo metropolitan area carries a decisive weight in the affairs of the world’s third-largest economy, accounting for approximately one-third of the country’s gross domestic product.



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