Now that Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose officially announced his resignation from his post over the 50 million yen loan from the controversial Tokushukai hospital group, Japan’s various political parties are trying to select their respective candidates in preparation for the election to be held early 2014. This particular election will be seen as a test for the ruling bloc’s hold on the Diet after railroading the state secrets bill earlier this month.
Under the Public Offices Election Act, the election must be held 50 days from the time the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly president officially informs the Tokyo Metropolitan Electoral Management Committee about the resignation. They are expected to announce the election either January 16 or 23, with the actual voting to be held either February 2 or 9, respectively. It is slated to be held in February to avoid overlapping with another important election; that of the Nago mayoral race in Okinawa, seen as crucial due to the difficult issue of the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The administration will also be pushing for it to be held before the implementation of the consumption tax increase in April, as public sentiment will probably affect the ruling party’s chances.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will be seeing this election as an opportunity to strengthen their stronghold on the Diet. Takeo Kawamura, head of the party’s Election Strategy Committee also thinks that the position will have a great impact not just on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but “also on the world.” Abe has been reported as saying, “It is good to have a female candidate,” which is part of his efforts to improve women’s participation in government leadership positions, particularly in the Diet. Meanwhile, the opposition parties will look at this gubernatorial race as a chance to turn the political tide and challenge the dominance of the LDP in both houses.
[ via The Mainichi ]