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Koike will not work with LDP in Tokyo assembly election: exclusive interview

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike responds to questions in an exclusive Mainichi Shimbun interview at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, on April 17, 2017. (Mainichi)

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike reiterated that she would not cooperate with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election scheduled for July 2, in an exclusive interview with the Mainichi Shimbun April 17.

Koike, the first woman to serve as the governor of Tokyo, said that she was aiming for candidates supporting her policies to capture the majority, or 64, of the seats in the assembly, and said the LDP "is not included" among those candidates.

Of her candidate base, Koike said, "They are people who are consistently facing the same direction as I am, and have a disposition similar to me. Even among people who come from varying backgrounds, there are people I can work with."

Asked whether her base included the LDP, Koike unequivocally stated, "No."

Despite her declaration, however, Koike is still a member of the LDP.

Koike's regional political party Tomin First no Kai (Tokyo metropolis residents first association) is set to field candidates for all 42 electoral districts in Tokyo. So far the party has entered an agreement to cooperate with the Komeito party, and expressed public support for 25 candidates, including an incumbent Tokyo assembly member who has defected from the LDP, and another incumbent Tokyo assembly member who has decided to leave the Democratic Party.

Koike also addressed the fact that there are only 25 women currently serving in the Tokyo assembly, which is less than 20 percent of the number of assembly members. "Since my time in national politics, I have been arguing that women should account for 30 percent in various fields by the year 2020. I will keep that 30 percent in mind," Koike said, indicating her intention to actively field female candidates from Tomin First no Kai in the Tokyo assembly election. Of the 25 candidates the party has decided to field on its ticket, already, nine -- or 36 percent -- are women.

As for when she will make a final decision on the Tsukiji wholesale market's relocation from Tokyo's Chuo Ward to Toyosu in Tokyo's Koto Ward, Koike remarked, "We have not veered far (from the road map that was released in November 2016)," adding that her plan to make a decision this summer, at the earliest, has not changed.

Going forward, the "strategic headquarters on the future of the market" is planning to hold hearings with Toshiro Kojima, chairman of a project team on "the market issue," and Tatemasa Hirata, chairman of a panel comprising outside experts.

"I will make a decision at the appropriate time, as soon as we have all the information we need," Koike said, hinting at the possibility that depending on the results of the hearings, the timing of her decision on the wholesale market may coincide with the Tokyo assembly election.

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