Higher-Than-Usual Turnout Expected for Tokyo Governor Vote; 92% of Polled Voters Express Interest in Election

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People listen to a Tokyo gubernatorial election candidate’s speech in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Friday.

Turnout for Sunday’s Tokyo gubernatorial election is being closely watched as, with a record 56 candidates, it is expected to be higher than in recent votes.

The campaign has mainly become a referendum on the administration of incumbent Gov. Yuriko Koike, who is seeking a third four-year term.

According to the Tokyo election administration commission, in the past 21 elections, the voter turnout rate was in the 70%-79% range twice, 60%-69% six times, 50%-59% nine times, and 40%-49% four times. In the previous election, in 2020, the figure stood at 55%.

The highest recorded voter turnout for a Tokyo gubernatorial election was in 1971, when 72.36% of voters cast ballots in the race that saw Gov. Ryokichi Minobe win a second term. Criticizing then Prime Minister Eisaku Sato under the slogan “Stop the Sato,” Minobe won the election in a landslide over candidates including a former police bureaucrat backed by the Liberal Democratic Party.

In recent years, voter turnout has generally floated between 40% and 60%.

According to a survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun from June 28 to 30, the percentage of voters who said they were “very much” or “somewhat” interested in the gubernatorial election reached 92%.

Some camps have expressed hope that turnout will be higher than in the previous election, which was held amid the COVID-19 pandemic.