Yuriko Koike is favourite to win the  Tokyo Gubernatorial election ©Getty Images

Yuriko Koike is expected to secure a second term as Tokyo Governor as voters in the Japanese capital prepare to head to the polls tomorrow.

Koike secured a landslide victory in 2016, which saw her become Tokyo’s first female Governor.

She is considered the clear favourite heading into tomorrow’s election, despite facing 21 challengers for the position.

Koike’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has reportedly strengthened her position prior to the election, with the 67-year-old having earned praise for her aggressive early strategy.

This comes despite a spike in coronavirus cases in the city.

The number of new COVID-19 infections has risen in recent days as the election approaches, with 124 confirmed yesterday.

It marked the second consecutive day the number of new cases was over 100.

According to a Kyodo News poll, 22.8 per cent of 1,030 respondents have said they appreciate Koike's work in her first term, with 57.8 per cent somewhat supportive.

A total of 25.2 per cent viewed "policies" as the most important issue in the election, with 21.3 and 14.6 per cent opting for leadership and measures to combat coronavirus, respectively.

Koike is running as an independent in the election, but Kyodo’s poll suggested she has the backing of 70 per cent of supporters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, as well as around 90 per cent of those supporting Komeito, the coalition partner.

She has been one of the key individuals in the build-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Voters will head to the polls tomorrow with measures in place to reduce the risk of coronavirus ©Getty Images
Voters will head to the polls tomorrow with measures in place to reduce the risk of coronavirus ©Getty Images

Koike suggested possible venue changes after taking office as organisers sought to reduce the budget of the Games.

The Tokyo Governor also publicly criticised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last year for their  decision to move marathon and race walk events to Sapporo without consultation.

Organisers are now facing a greater challenge following the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Koike has pledged to hold a simplified Games next year.

The rescheduled Games, handling the coronavirus crisis and the revival of Tokyo’s economy due to the impact of the pandemic are expected to be the key early challenges for the winner of tomorrow’s election.

Japanese politician and former actor Tarō Yamamoto has promised that he will prioritise cancelling the Games if he is elected Tokyo Governor.

Kenji Utsunomiya, former head of the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations, has also backed potentially cancelling the Games as part of his campaign.