Yuriko Koike Vows Expanded Free Nursery Care in Tokyo Gubernatorial Race Pledge

Pool photo via Yomiuri Shimbun
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike speaks during an online press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Tuesday released her policy pledges for the July 7 gubernatorial election in the capital, featuring an expansion of free nursery care and fresh rent assistance for child-rearing families.

“We will make Tokyo a place where it is not expensive to raise children and receive education,” Koike, 71, seeking her third term, said in an online press conference.

Her primary challenger, Renho, 56, a lawmaker of the House of Councillors is set to unveil her policy platform later the same day.

Parents in Tokyo are eligible for assistance that effectively makes nursery care free for second and subsequent children, thanks to a combination of aid schemes by the central and metropolitan governments. Koike’s policy pledge expands this to include first children.

The platform also includes measures to alleviate rent burdens and aid for painless childbirth.

In the field of education, Koike vowed to work to reduce to zero the number of children waiting to be accepted into “gakudo hoiku” after-school facilities for elementary school children whose both parents work and the number of students per class at public junior high schools to 35.

She also announced a plan to introduce an ordinance aimed at promoting women’s empowerment and efforts to resolve the so-called income walls, which prompt many women to work shorter hours so that their annual incomes do not exceed thresholds leading to higher tax and social security premium burdens.

Koike touted her achievements as governor, such as providing ¥5,000  per month to residents up to the age of 18 and making high school education effectively free.