Record High Early Votes in Tokyo Gubernatorial Election; Over 1.6 Mil. Votes Cast in 15 Days

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A voter casts an early vote in the Tokyo gubernatorial election in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on June 21.

A record 1.65 million early voters cast their ballots in the Tokyo gubernatorial election ahead of Sunday’s voting day, according to the election administration of the Tokyo metropolitan government.

Tokyo’s Election Administration Commission announced Saturday that 1,654,402 voters cast their ballots in the 15 days from June 21 to Friday. That is about a 20% increase from the same period in the previous election in 2020, when there were 1,378,422 early votes.

This is believed to be related to voters’ growing interest in the intense verbal battles among the candidates.

In the past 21 Tokyo gubernatorial elections, the highest voter turnout was 72.36% in 1971, when Ryokichi Minobe, backed by the now defunct Japan Socialist Party and the Japanese Communist Party, won a second term. The record for the lowest turnout was 43.19% in the 1987 election, in which Shunichi Suzuki was re-elected for a third term.

The lowest voter turnout in recent years was 46.14% in 2014, when Yoichi Masuzoe was first elected. The figure was 16.46 percentage points lower than the previous election. The cause appears to have been related to the heavy snowfall that occurred the day before the Feb. 9 election day that year.