Highlights

  • Japanese woman, Satoko Kishimoto becomes mayor of a district in Tokyo
  • She used to run online campaigns during Covid pandemic
  • Kishimoto lives in Belgium with husband and children

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Japanese woman living in Belgium wins Tokyo mayoral election

47-year-old Satoko Kishimoto, who has lived in the Belgian city of Leuven with her husband and children for a decade, is now mayor of Suginami city.

A Japanese woman living in Belgium has been elected as mayor of a district in Tokyo after coming to prominence through her online campaigning during the Covid pandemic.

47-year-old Satoko Kishimoto, who has lived in the Belgian city of Leuven with her husband and children for a decade, is now mayor of Suginami city, a ward of 500,000 people, more than 5,800 miles away from her home.

Kishimoto works as a project coordinator for the not-for-profit Transnational Institute in Amsterdam but had travelled to Japan to campaign in person in recent weeks.

Kishimoto’s husband, Olivier Hoedeman, said the election result had nevertheless come as a “huge surprise” and they were not yet committed to moving to Japan as their youngest son is still in secondary school.

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