WITH Yuriko Koike getting reelected as governor of Tokyo a week ago, she was essentially endorsed by a city of 14 million in her resolve to stage the postponed Tokyo Olympics next year.
Not only did Koike win over a slew of opponents that included a famous actor among nearly two dozen candidates.
Resoundingly, she also prevailed by a landslide—an obvious yes from the voters to her stern style of leadership and a validation to an approval rating shooting off the roof consistently during her first term.
There was no doubt that next year’s Tokyo Olympics became the focal point during the campaign period, with Koike a strong supporter of the Games against the anti-Olympic stance of her rivals.
“The Olympics should be canceled,” said Taro Yamamoto, the popular actor-turned-politcian. “There is no guarantee to hold the Games safely in Tokyo as we don’t have a vaccine yet for Covid-19.”
The Olympics, set originally this month in the world’s biggest metropolis that is Tokyo, was moved to July 23 next year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that struck—and continues to strike—the world in February this year.
Yamamoto and many of his fellow male candidates had warned about a “still infected” Tokyo getting deluged with 11,000 athletes from 200-plus nations and territories, 4,400 Paralympians and thousands more technical officials, broadcasters and journalists, not to mention four million ticket-buyers and 80,000 volunteers for the Games.
Three other bets, including the well-respected lawyer Kenji Utsunumiya, echoed Yamamoto’s sentiments, with two others proposing a two-year to four-year postponement.
All their pleas fell on deaf ears on July 5.
Utsunumiya, who ran on an anti-poverty platform, was a far second among Koike’s 21 challengers—by a whopping 46 percentage points.
“When the (staging of the) Olympics becomes proof of victory in our fight against the coronavirus, what a meaningful event it will be,” said Koike, Tokyo’s first female governor on her second four-year term.
Seemingly now, Koike, wallowing in ecstasy, can’t wait to say, “Let the Games begin!”