Could Tokyo’s new female governor replace Abe?
By Sim Sim Wissgott

2017-07-13 13:18 GMT+8

By CGTN’s The Point

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was named one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017 by Time Magazine. Now could Japan’s first female governor also become the country’s first female prime minister? 

“Koike is the kind of politician that the Japanese people like right now," Victor Teo, assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong, told CGTN’s The Point with Liu Xin. 

"Koike looks very promising... she created her own party to run against the (ruling) LDP in local elections and actually won by a big margin so that's pretty impressive. But to say that she will be able to replace Abe is still premature,” he noted. 

Challenging current prime minister Shinzo Abe, despite his low approval ratings and several recent scandals, will not be an easy task for Koike, Teo warned. 

“In Japanese politics, you need to have the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) machinery to win at the national level. Secondly, Prime Minister Abe - even though he is currently mired in political scandals - is still pretty popular: (an approval rating of) 35 percent is still quite high in a democracy.” 

Although she has her own party, Tomin First no Kai, Koike is very much aligned with the LDP as well as ultra-conservatives who deny Japan’s invasion of Asia during World War Two, noted Naoko Kumada, a research fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. 

“She supports the amendment of the pacifist constitution, she is hawkish... and she supports the stronger role of the Japanese military," Kumada noted. 

Elected last year, Koike will probably choose to serve out her four-year term as governor of Tokyo so that she can host the 2020 Winter Olympics, Teo argued. “That would then allow Abe to win a third term so that he can revise the party rules,” he warned.  

The Point with Liu Xin is a 30-minute current affairs program on CGTN. It airs weekdays at 9.30 p.m. BJT (1330GMT), with rebroadcasts at 5.30 a.m. (2130GMT) and 10.30 a.m. (0230GMT).