Tokyo Gubernatorial Race Candidates Debate Virus, Olympics


Tokyo, June 17 (Jiji Press)--Five candidates for the July Tokyo gubernatorial election held a joint press conference Wednesday to debate the future of the Japanese capital, including the city's response to the coronavirus outbreak and the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Participating in the online conference, hosted by the Japan National Press Club, were incumbent Yuriko Koike, 67, Kenji Utsunomiya, 73, former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, who is supported by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, Taro Yamamoto, 45, leader of minor political party Reiwa Shinsengumi, Taisuke Ono, 46, former Vice Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan, who is backed by Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), and Takashi Tachibana, 52, head of NHK kara Kokumin wo Mamoru To, a party campaigning against the public broadcaster, or Japan Broadcasting Corp.

Koike pledged to boost the metropolis' coronavirus testing and healthcare systems to "prepare for a possible second wave of infections."

Yamamoto said that he will urge the central government to substantially increase fiscal spending for supporting regional governments and "raise the standard of Tokyo residents' livelihoods."

Utsunomiya argued for more financial support to medical institutions and medical workers. He said the Tokyo metropolitan government was slow to respond to the epidemic in the early stages.

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