News / Asia

    Masuzoe Wins Tokyo Gubernatorial Election

    Japan's former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe shouts 'banzai' with his supporters at his office, following local media reports that it is certain he will be elected as the new Tokyo Governor, in Tokyo, Feb. 9, 2014.
    Japan's former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe shouts 'banzai' with his supporters at his office, following local media reports that it is certain he will be elected as the new Tokyo Governor, in Tokyo, Feb. 9, 2014.
    VOA News
    The candidate backed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won a landslide victory in Sunday's election for governor of Tokyo. The poll has been widely seen by Abe’s opponents as a referendum on his pro-nuclear energy policy nearly three years after the Fukushima disaster.


    Masuzoe downplayed the nuclear referendum aspect, concentrating as he had on the election campaign on welfare and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
     
    “I will be working to make Tokyo the world's best city, in terms of welfare, disaster preparedness, its economy and more importantly to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics a success,” newly-elected Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe said in his victory speech. 
     
    The widely expected victory comes as a relief for Abe, who had suffered a rare setback in another local election last month. Abe said he was happy to work with the new governor on the Tokyo Olympics.
     
    “I want him to make Tokyo a shining beacon at the center of the world. I have just returned from Sochi and I want to work hand-in-hand to ensure that we have a wonderful 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics,” Abe said.
     
    Masuzoe, 65, backed by Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, won by a wide margin, polling numbers showed.
     
    Masuzoe had not made energy policy a prime focus, although he said Japan should reduce its dependence on nuclear power in the medium to long term.
     
    That was enough for the voters.
     
    “It’s obvious that Tokyo residents cannot ignore the problem of nuclear power plants but above that, they prioritized welfare and employment issues and I think they voted from that stand-point,” senior research fellow at the Fujitsu research institute, Hidetaka Yoneyama, noted.
     
    Masuzoe's most prominent rival was former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa, 76, who came out of retirement to run and with support from charismatic ex-premier Junichiro Koizumi, had put opposition to atomic energy at the core of his platform in the race to lead the capital city of 13.3 million people.
     
    Yoneyama added that people voted with their wallets.
     
    “With the residents of Tokyo supporting Masuzoe, it also means they are showing their support for Prime Minister Abe's policies,” Yoneyama said.
     
    Surveys have shown that most Japanese voters favor abandoning nuclear power, either immediately or in the longer term, but they also indicate that energy policy is not as important an issue for voters as jobs and the economy, an aging population and welfare.
     
    Analysts said Hosokawa and Koizumi had failed to gain traction for their single-issue campaign.
     
    Thirty-five-year-old Sakiko Hani agreed that the economy came first.
     
    “Well, the anti-nuclear movement resonated until recently when the economy was in the doldrums. But now that the economy has swung up, I think everyone is less concerned about the nuclear issue,” Hani said.
     
    Forty-five-year-old Takayuki Miura echoed the sentiment.
     
    “I think Masuzoe is the most realistic candidate for the Tokyo of today,” Miura said.
     
    Masuzoe's win, however, is unlikely to mean smooth sailing for Abe's efforts to restart reactors shut down after the Fukushima accident.
     
    This is because of delays in safety checks by a new atomic regulator and the need to persuade host communities to agree to the government's plans.
     
    Masuzoe replaces former governor Naoki Inose, who resigned in December amid scandal.

    Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora