Satoko Kishimoto, Mayor of Suginami

11:00-12:00 Thursday, July 21, 2022
(The speech and Q & A will be in English.)

Suginami's Bicycling Female Mayor

The sweeping victory for Japan's ruling coalition in July 12th general election suggested to some that the nation’s politics have become stagnant.  One antidote to that view might be Satoko Kishimoto. A former environmental researcher, Kishimoto is the first female mayor of Tokyo's Suginami, a district with 570,000 residents. She won the election in June -- albeit defeating the long-serving conservative incumbent by just 187 votes – despite living thousands of miles away in the Belgian city of Leuven, her home for more than a decade, until she registered to run for the election. 
Kishimoto (47) studied environmental sociology and was employed by the Dutch research organization the Transnational Institute, where she worked on seeking alternatives to water, health and energy privatization. She supports the use of public services to mitigate the looming impact of inequalities, climate change and political instability. She nailed her environmental colors to the mast by arriving at Suginami’s ward office for her first day of work this month on a push-bicycle. 
Now she is in power, what will she do? At her first press conference Kishimoto pledged to "make Suginami the most transparent municipality in Japan, with the most active participation of local residents." But her strongly progressive stance could bring her into conflict with business and conservative politicians. Come along and hear how she plans to shake up Tokyo's political scene.  

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