News On Japan

Poster Crisis in Tokyo Election

TOKYO, Jun 21 (News On Japan) - The Tokyo gubernatorial election was officially announced on June 20th, with a record 56 candidates running. However, the allocated poster spaces only accommodate 48 candidates, leaving some without a place to display their posters. As a workaround, clear file folders are being used, causing confusion at polling sites.

Koike: 'Making Tokyo the Best in the World'

With a population of 14.17 million and a budget of 8.453 trillion yen, who will steer this megacity?

Yuriko Koike, aiming for a third term at 71, held her first speech at her campaign office, streamed online instead of on the streets.

'Thank you all for gathering here at the kickoff event. Yes, thank you for your energetic voices,' she said.

Koike emphasized making Tokyo 'number one.'

'Let’s make Tokyo the best city in the world. Let's enhance our top achievements further. I ask for your support and cooperation as we begin this journey,' she stated.

Despite continued coverage from her office, there were no signs of lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party or Komeito, who had declared their support. Instead, various organizations came to hand over their letters of recommendation.

Koike is committed to balancing her duties, primarily focusing on her official work.

'I will campaign whenever I have time. I want to go with a dual approach, combining public duties and campaign activities,' she added.

Renho: 'Shining Light on Shadows'

Renho, 56, was at Nakano Station.

'I’m giving it my all,' she said.

Meanwhile, Communist Party supporters were helping put up posters in Akishima City. The Constitutional Democratic Party, lacking strong local support, was organizing full-scale backing efforts.

'I think these posters reflect her kindness and responsiveness to everyone’s concerns,' a Communist Party supporter commented.

'The campaign has finally started today. I am deeply grateful to everyone who stops and waves. I want to run these 17 days to become Tokyo’s leader. Koike is good at shining light on the bright spots, but I believe she has neglected the shadows for eight years. I aim to address these issues,' Renho stated.

Ishimaru: 'Connecting People Through the Internet'

Shinji Ishimaru, 41, former mayor of Akitakata City, Hiroshima Prefecture, had his supporters take the mic first at his kickoff speech.

'I wrote to Mr. Ishimaru for the first time, wanting to support him and meet him. I listen to his YouTube videos daily, sometimes until 4 or 5 in the morning,' said the founder of Doutor Coffee.

'The power of the internet has expanded our network significantly,' Ishimaru noted.

Campaigning through online connections, he was taking selfies with many in Omotesando.

'The difference between the Akitakata mayoral and Tokyo gubernatorial elections is the people. In Akitakata, there was no one around even when riding the campaign car. Today, there are only people everywhere. We need to act quickly and change politics,' he emphasized.

Tamogami: 'Younger than Trump'

Former Air Self-Defense Force Chief Toshio Tamogami, 75, campaigned outside the Ministry of Defense.

'I am running for Tokyo governor. At 75, I am younger than President Biden and former President Trump,' he claimed.

Tamogami garnered 600,000 votes in the 2014 Tokyo gubernatorial election, finishing fourth.

'People ask how many votes I’m aiming for. I’m targeting 2.5 million. I must be number one. Others may be okay with second place, but I want to be first. I believe my capabilities far exceed other candidates, having led 50,000 personnel in the Self-Defense Forces,' he asserted.

Unusual Measures for Poster Display

The Tokyo gubernatorial election, with its colorful candidates, faced an issue with insufficient poster spaces.

In Kiyose City, the election management committee was anxious, unable to eat lunch. The designated boards by Tokyo allow only 48 spaces.

'We can’t fit everyone,’ said Junichi Ito, head of Kiyose City’s election management committee.

The final count of 56 candidates was more than double the previous 22, a record high. Tokyo’s response was to have candidates use clear file folders for extra posters.

'Candidates are trying various ways to improve the appearance,' said announcer Ayari Shimomura.

Candidates themselves devised solutions to display posters properly.

'This looks much better. It’s rain-resistant, and the name is clear,' said one candidate.

Legal and Ethical Issues

The Tokyo election committee requested candidates exceed the allotted spaces, leading some to use clear file folders.

Half of the record number of candidates are from a single political group, which allows supporters to place self-made posters on allocated spaces, given a donation.

'Posters provide voters with a basis for voting. This act is essentially a "sale" and undermines democracy, straying from the election's essence,' commented Hiroshi Shiratori, a professor at Hosei University.

Some election committees in Tokyo voiced concerns.

'This wasn’t anticipated in the Public Offices Election Law. It uses taxpayers’ money, raising issues of fairness and expense. We want more voters to participate, but candidate information is not reaching them,' they said.

Legally, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said, 'Posters are free as long as they don’t support others or contain false content. It’s not illegal.'

However, Professor Shiratori noted, 'The election law hasn’t adapted to modern changes. A fundamental review is urgently needed.'

Indecent Posters Lead to Warning

The Metropolitan Police Department issued a warning on June 20th for indecent posters displayed by a male candidate, violating the nuisance prevention ordinance.

The candidate was confirmed to have placed indecent posters in several locations, leading to numerous complaints to the police.

Source: ANN

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