March 25, 2017
Battle of Three Candidates
Although 21 candidates ran for the Tokyo gubernatorial election, it primarily became a battle between three major candidates: former Minister of Defense Yuriko Koike, journalist Shuntaro Torigoe and former Iwate governor Hiroya Masuda. Koike and Torigoe are close in the polls, and Masuda is trailing them. Although Koike is a member of the LDP, she was not endorsed by the Tokyo branch of the LDP. The LDP gave its official endorsement to Masuda. Moreover, on July 11, the LDP issued a statement saying that any LDP member (or family members) publicly support Koike, then they will be dismissed from the LDP. This document has been criticized by many as an invasion of individual LDP members’ freedom of thought. The LDP’s sanctions against Koike caused divisions between supporters of Koike and supporters of Masuda. Paradoxically, the sanctions also invited sympathy for Koike, thus increasing her popularity.