Tokyo reshuffle: One new vice-governor likely to be a woman

Tokyo Governor and Kibo no To (Party of Hope) leader Yuriko Koike attends a news conference at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept 29, 2017.
Tokyo Governor and Kibo no To (Party of Hope) leader Yuriko Koike attends a news conference at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept 29, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO • Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is set to appoint a female bureaucrat as one of her deputies, the first time in 22 years that a woman will hold the post of vice-governor.

Kyodo news agency, quoting sources, identified her as Ms Junko Inokuma, who is director-general of the Bureau of Accounting.

Ms Inokuma would be promoted along with Mr Akira Hasegawa, who heads the governor's Office for Policy Planning, said the sources.

With their appointments, the number of vice-governors would be reduced from four to three, they added. The sources did not name the vice-governor who would remain in the post.

The reported reshuffle comes amid speculation that Ms Koike might run in the Oct 22 general election, which has been called more than a year before one is due.

It also comes just days after she launched a new political party, Kibo no To (Party of Hope), to challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

But Ms Koike reiterated yesterday that she has no intention of standing down as governor and returning to national politics.

"I will not stand," she said.

The appointment of the two new vice-governors is likely to be submitted to the Tokyo metropolitan assembly next Thursday, the final day of its ordinary session, said Kyodo.

Ms Koike, a former defence minister in Mr Abe's Cabinet, resigned as a lawmaker to run in the Tokyo gubernatorial election, which she won in July last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2017, with the headline 'Tokyo reshuffle: One new vice-governor likely to be a woman'. Print Edition | Subscribe