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  • Japan Elections, Tokyo Olympic Bid


    Sinzo Abe. (Getty Images)
    (ATR) Elections in Japan and Tokyo this weekend for new governments could possibly strengthen the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid.

    On a national level, the Liberal Democratic Party is poised to sweep into office, led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    Opinion polls from the three leading newspapers show Abe with a comfortable lead going into Sunday’s elections. If successful, the LDP will replace current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Democratic Party of Japan .

    Both parties have expressed support for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic bid.

    In the non-partisan Tokyo Municipal Government elections, Naoki Inose is also set to win by a comfortable margin. His main opponent Kenji Utsunomiya has heavy backing from fringe political parties but seemingly little mainstream support.

    Inose is former deputy to Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who resigned in November to lead a new party in the national election.

    Ishihara was one of the leaders of the 2016 and 2020 Olympic bids. But his hawkish stand toward China and disputed islands was seen as a possible complication for the current bid.
    Shintaro Ishihara campaigning for the Japan Restoration Party. (Getty Images)

    Tokyo 2020 officials have indicated that Inose’s election will reduce the nationalist controversy generated by Ishihara.

    The 2020 Olympic bid has drawn little attention in the municipal race. A Kyodo News Agency poll finds 7.4 percent of Tokyo residents listing the bid as a major policy issue in the race.

    With the bid books from Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul due at the IOC in three weeks and now being printed, the late election in Japan means the Tokyo file will need last-minute addendums of support from the new government leaders.

    Written and reported by Ed Hula III.

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