Tokyo Elects New Governor

A candidate backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won an election for governor of Tokyo after the previous city head resigned last year amid scandal.

The victory of former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe was widely expected.

Masuzoe, 65, won by a wide margin, according to media exit polls.

Japans former Health Minister Yoichi Masuzoe cheers with supporters at his office in Tokyo on Feb. 9, 2014. /Reuters Japan's former Health Minister Yoichi Masuzoe cheers with supporters at his office in Tokyo on Feb. 9, 2014. /Reuters

Voters chose Masuzoe from a field of 16 to lead the city of 13 million people. He will be tasked with such things as starting preparations for the 2020 Olympics, preparing for a long-feared huge earthquake and deciding whether to end Japan's nuclear dependency.

Another candidate, former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa, championed a nuclear-free Japan.

Former governor Naoki Inose resigned in December after accepting $500,000 from a scandal-plagued hospital company.

Inose said the payment was a personal, interest-free loan he had already returned. But critics say the payment amounted to bribery, and pressured him to resign.

VOA News / Feb. 10, 2014 08:09 KST