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Politics

LDP, governor's upstart group neck and neck in Tokyo race

Tomin First leads by less than a point despite Koike's popularity

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike campaigns on the streets of the capital June 25.

TOKYO -- The two main parties in Tokyo's metropolitan assembly election are seeing similar levels of support about a week before the July 2 vote, with Gov. Yuriko Koike's new political group only narrowly ahead of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Koike's Tomin First no Kai, a local party pledging to put "Tokyoites first," polled at 26.7% to the LDP's 25.9% of the 1,028 respondents to a telephone survey of Tokyo households with eligible voters, conducted Saturday and Sunday by Nikkei Inc. and eight other news organizations. Another 13% of those surveyed plan to vote for the Japanese Communist Party; 12.3% for Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner on the national level; and 8.4% for the Democratic Party.

But much could change, given that 57.2% of respondents remain uncertain as to their vote, compared with just 42.2% who have fully or nearly made up their minds. Adding in responses from the undecided group about whom they would vote for if the election were held now still leaves Tomin First and the LDP roughly level. Whether Tomin First and its allies, such as Komeito, can win a majority of the 127-seat assembly remains to be seen.

The governor herself remains broadly popular, with a 66.5% approval rating and just 21.7% expressing a negative view.

When voters were asked about the issues they most want the assembly to take up, the most common response was medical care and welfare at 30.6%. This was followed by jobs and the economy at 17.9%, administrative reform at 17.6%, and child care at 15.4%. Further behind were the controversial relocation of the famed Tsukiji fish market, cited by 7.2% of respondents, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, mentioned by just 6%.

The race is attracting much attention from Tokyoites -- 80.8% said they are at least somewhat interested in the election.

(Nikkei)

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