The sudden resignation of Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose last month due to a money loan scandal has prompted a third gubernatorial election in as many years. With the campaign officially starting this week and the elections set for February 9, the 16 candidates for the position are doing their best to get the votes. But even the voters themselves are divided as to what issue the future governor of Tokyo should prioritize.
One of the hot button issues of course is the country’s continued dependence on nuclear energy, despite the safety issues brought about by the Fukushima meltdown in 2011. But some of the Tokyo residents believe that shouldn’t be the priority. One construction company employee said the focus should be on the upcoming 2020 Olympics, as this will bring about social and economic improvements to the city.
Foreign residents living in Tokyo meanwhile said that the government should prioritize building tourism infrastructure to make the city more foreigner friendly. A suggestion from a German national is to make changes in economic policies. “The question is how you can stimulate the domestic economy sustainably, and deregulating and opening the country more towards foreign investors is one of the key issues.” When it comes to nuclear energy, he said that eliminating it totally is not feasible at this time because the infrastructure is still not in place.
Aside from nuclear energy and the Olympics, other issues on the candidates’ agenda are preparing for a possible major earthquake, support for child-rearing working mothers, and addressing the graying population of Tokyo and Japan in general. Surveys from different media organizations show that former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe, lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya and nationalist Toshio Tamogami are the early frontrunners in the early days of the campaign. Hosokawa is supported by another former Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, and his main cause is eliminating nuclear power in Japan.
[via Japan Times]