Yuriko Koike: Tokyo's First Female Governor

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Former defence minister Yuriko Koike is elected governor of Tokyo in landslide election victory, the first woman to lead the Japanese capital.

She split off and ran in an independent party after leaders of her old party disparaged her with sexist comments like “We cannot leave Tokyo to a woman with too much make-up.” She won by enormous margins.

She’s also apparently pretty racist and jingoistic, although it’s not reported in Western media. From a commenter on RP’s Facebook Page:

She also is a horrible racist who has been tied to a (mainly anti-Korean) hate-spewing ultra nationalistic group and has attributed Japan’s population decline to “a lack in strong, dependable men”. She also has mentioned that she wants American nuclear missiles placed in Tokyo to defend against North Korea, and has continuously supported (and is still currently supported by) groups and people pushing to downplay the atrocities committed by Imperial Japan before and during WW2. I unfortunately cannot find English sources for these, but they are quite abundant in Japanese. Politics cannot be put aside – as someone who voted in this election I am deeply disappointed by the result. I’d happily have waited for someone else to come along to be the first female mayor of the city I grew up in and love.

I did try to research her before posting, but none of the English articles made mention of it. Even asked a Japanese friend, who apparently didn’t know about any of that.

  • JoseB

    I lived in Tokyo for 4 years and keep contact with my friends over there. In general terms, what your correspondent says is true. Koike is jingoistic and racist. She has strong links to the “Nippon Kaigi”, a lobby that pushes for historical revisionism, denies the Japanese atrocities during WWII (to a certain extent the Japanese equivalent of holocaust deniers) and pushes for the whitewashing of Japanese history as taught to children through the “Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform”.

    She is also hawkish and would like Japan to be able to get a full military (elimination of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution). Has made noises saying that, if she were prime minister, she would force Russia to return to Japan four disputed islands north of Hokkaido.

    She also regularly visits Yasukuni Shrine on August 15 to honor all the Japanese war dead enshrined there, and is a member of the group in the Japanese parliament that promotes visits to the shrine. The only hiccup, as you possibly know, is that among the war dead there enshrined, mixed with all the other soldiers and military, are all the Japanese war criminals that were tried and executed after the end of the conflict, as well as all the others that were never tried but nonetheless committed many atrocities. The shrine authorities themselves are 100% silent about this little fact which is not mentioned anywhere (they however put forward a lot of stuff about the heroic behavior of the men there enshrined).

    All the sources for this, unfortunately, are in Japanese. It is true that most of them are not disinterested parties (after all, they mostly belong to leftist publications). However, there are many references that can be found if one digs deep enough. I would say that she is not “apparently” pretty racist and jingoistic – she definitely *is* a racist and jingoistic person, no “apparently” about it.