The governor of Tokyo will take a break to recover from severe fatigue, the capital’s government said on Wednesday, a month before the start of the Olympic Games.
As head of the host city, Governor Yuriko Koike is deeply involved in preparing for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, as well as leading the coronavirus response in the capital.
She often worked on weekends and late at night on coronavirus measures and held meetings with senior officials and would speak briefly to reporters waiting to speak to her at the entrance to the capital’s government building.
At an online meeting related to COVID-19 on Tuesday, she apologized for her hoarse voice.
Japanese media, including public television NHK, reported that Koike was hospitalized.
Tokyo officials said they could not confirm the report and said only that Koike was very tired and needed to rest and would be out of work until the end of the week. Deputy Governor Mitsuchika Tarao will take over Koike’s duties while she rests, a government statement said.
Wednesday marks a month before the opening of the Olympic Games on July 23, and Koike’s absence comes just before the start of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election campaign, in which she heads a local party, Tokyoites First.
Earlier this week, Olympic officials decided to allow the audience to attend the Games, although caps were placed on spectators at the Olympic venues.
Health experts have expressed deep concern that the games could lead to an increase in the virus in the Tokyo region.
Koike, who turns 69 on July 15, has belonged to Japan’s ruling Conservative Liberal Democratic Party for about 20 years and has held key cabinet and party posts.
Understanding in the media and a stylish TV presenter turned into a politician, Koike is still rumored to be a future candidate for prime minister and her political activities are being closely monitored before the national elections later this year.
She was Japan’s first female defense minister and set out to become Tokyo’s first female governor after failing to win the LDP presidency. She won her second term as governor last year.
As governor, Koike is pushing for populist measures such as administrative reforms, more reasonable spending and a review of expensive venues for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Koike insisted on holding the Olympics as planned last year until the last minute, after which he began urging the government to urgently fight the coronavirus pandemic and declare a state of emergency, while the central government was criticized for being slow to take those steps.