The Modern Tokyo Times

International news and neglected issues

Shintaro Ishihara is re-elected in Tokyo with a clear victory

Shintaro Ishihara is re-elected in Tokyo with a clear victory

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Shintaro Ishihara

Shintaro Ishihara

 The people of Tokyo have once more elected Shintaro Ishihara because of his past record and despite his age, 78, he is viewed by many Tokyoites to be both a strong leader and an individual which can guide Tokyo’s future.  Therefore, he easily defeated all and sundry and with this more than likely being his last term in office then he may focus on new policies in order to leave a strong and powerful legacy.

True to nature, Ishihara also viewed harsh words towards the current spirit in Japan and clearly the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis; is not going to mellow Ishihara. On the contrary, he desires to use the prevailing conditions in order to focus on the bigger picture and this applies to the culture and spirit of Tokyo and Japan itself.

Ishihara, after finding out that he had been re-elected according to all opinion polls and the early counts which were announced in his favor; commented that Japanese beauty remains in Japanese people, but unless we suppress our egoism, Japan will not revive.”

Ishihara also continued by stating that “We’d better change our lifestyle. Our convenient, consumerist lifestyle cannot last.  You can live without vending machines.”

It is clear that Ishihara’s power remains strong within Tokyo and it must be remembered that he was first elected in 1999 and to maintain power for so long is a remarkable achievement.  After all, to be re-elected so many times in such a powerful city speaks well for Ishihara because he is clearly connecting with many Tokyoites.

To some outsiders, it may appear that Ishihara is too outspoken but within Tokyo he is highly respected amongst a huge proportion of the electorate.  Therefore, he will continue to build on his twelve years in power and it appears that he desires another shot at winning the Olympic bid and maybe this is the legacy that he craves?

Ironically, the recent tragedy to hit northeastern Japan may help in a rather perverse way because the last Olympic bid did not focus on the “human side of Tokyo.”  However, the tragic events of March 11 means that global sympathy is with Japan and the 2020 Olympic bid could become a catalyst in order to show the world that Tokyo and Japan have recovered from the tragedy of March 11. 

Of course, for many people in northeastern Japan then they will never fully recover because people can never be replaced and some individuals will have lost so many family members and friends. 

Despite this, and the many future problems that so many people face in northeastern Japan; it would be heartwarming for people to see hope, renewal, and for this area to be highlighted within the Olympics.  This applies to economic development, special events to be held despite the distance and to remember the fallen and to show “the Olympic torch” with being a sign of new life.

Ishihara hinted strongly that he hopes to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics and he clearly believes that this will be a catalyst towards recovery. 

Ishihara also commented that “Let’s save a little and give it to the country’s reconstruction. Otherwise, we will become a subject nation of China.”

The power of Tokyo’s capital base is huge and the gross domestic product in the last year was 85 trillion yen ($1 trillion US dollars on current exchange rates).  Therefore, the entire economy of South Korea is roughly in line with that of Tokyo and this shows you why Tokyo is such an economic powerhouse.

Given this reality, Ishihara stated that “If Tokyo comes to a halt in confusion, the country comes to a halt.”

It is therefore clear that Tokyo is instrumental in the well being of Japan and this is not to underestimate other powerful cities like Osaka and Nagoya; but just like Germany is the engine of Europe the same applies to Tokyo being the engine of Japan.

Therefore, it is hoped that Ishihara, who returned Tokyo to the black in the fiscal year of 2005-2006, after 16 years of being in the red; will steady the ship and help to revitalize not only Tokyo but to restore global faith in the future of Japan.

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