Record number of 56 candidates enter Tokyo's governor race

A record 56 candidates have entered the official 17-day race to choose Tokyo's next leader in July's gubernatorial election.

The figure is more than double the 22 candidates who ran in the previous vote in 2020.

Some of the candidates have already made campaign statements.

Incumbent Koike Yuriko says: "My primary goal is to make Tokyo the world's best city. My slogan in this campaign is 'protect the capital.' That means protecting people's lives, their livelihoods, and the economy. But it's not only about protecting -- it's about helping those things improve. I will strive to make Tokyo better and better. I want to move such things forward for the people, with the people."

Ishimaru Shinji, former mayor of Akitakata City in western Japan's Hiroshima Prefecture, says: " I can't forgive self-serving politicians. When we look abroad, you can see young leaders are being born all over the world. Now is a chance for us to join hands to make a change. Let's move forward together."

TV personality Shimizu Kuniaki says: "My priority will be disaster prevention to save the lives of Tokyo's people. I will also focus on transparency within the Tokyo Metropolitan Government -- how the taxes are used and for whom. Let me be your Governor."

Tamogami Toshio, former Air Self-Defense Force chief of staff, says: "I want to make Tokyo a safe and rich city. I want to work on disaster preparations so that if something happens, the city won't suffer serious damage and we can minimize the number of victims as much as possible. We need to focus on education that will instill confidence and pride as Japanese."

Former Upper House lawmaker Renho says: "I want to thoroughly support the young people. I want to ease their burdens and anxieties...They shouldn't be forced to give up. They should be able to choose their way of life. I am convinced this is exactly what the Tokyo Metropolitan Government can do to take the lead over the central government."

The main ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito voluntarily back Koike Yuriko. She is also getting the voluntary backing of the Democratic Party for the People's Tokyo chapter and the regional party TOMIN First.

The Constitutional Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party are backing Renho.

The Japan Innovation Party and Reiwa Shinsengumi do not back any candidates.

Free Education for All and Sanseito will allow members of their respective parties to vote freely.

The main focus of the campaign will be Koike's handling of the governorship over the past eight years during her two terms in office.

Candidates will be rolling out a range of proposals.
One big issue is expected to be the declining number of births, as Tokyo was recently found to have the lowest total fertility rate in the country.

The vote is set for July 7.