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After decades of changing parties, Koike secures Tokyo governor seat

Tokyo governor-elect Yuriko Koike was known as a "migrant bird" in the political world as she frequently changed parties ever since she stepped into politics in 1992.

A native of Hyogo Prefecture, Koike was born in 1952. After graduating from Cairo University, she worked as an interpreter and then started appearing on TV as a news anchor. In 1992, she joined the now defunct Japan New Party, which had just been formed, and successfully ran for a seat in the House of Councillors election in the proportional representation bloc. Koike then ran in the 1993 House of Representatives election in the then Hyogo No. 2 district, winning a seat in the lower house.

Koike took part in the making of the New Frontier Party, also now defunct, and was re-elected in the 1996 lower house election in the Hyogo No. 6 electoral district after the single-seat constituency election system was introduced.

She then joined the Liberal Party, led by political mogul Ichiro Ozawa, in 1998, and changed her party again to the New Conservative Party -- both of which no longer exist. Koike joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2002.

In the following year, Koike was appointed environment minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, her first ministerial position, and promoted the "Cool Biz" project to conserve energy by encouraging workers to dress lightly during summer. In the 2005 lower house election in which then Prime Minister Koizumi highlighted the privatization of Japan's postal service as the main issue, Koike changed her constituency to Tokyo No. 10 as an "assassin candidate" and defeated an anti-privatization opponent.

She became the first female defense minister in 2007, but resigned 55 days later over the appointment of the vice minister. Koike told a news conference upon her resignation that it was "a girl's dream come true to be involved in the country's primary department" about serving as defense minister.

She ran for the LDP presidency in 2008 and came in the third place. In 2010, when the party was in the opposition camp, Koike became the first woman to chair its General Council. After leaving the position a year later, she did not take a ministerial job or the party's key posts. Koike announced her candidacy in the latest Tokyo gubernatorial election while serving her eighth term as a lower house legislator.

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