Yuichiro Ito won a third term as governor of Kagoshima Prefecture on July 8 by defeating anti-nuclear challenger Yoshitaka Mukohara.
The 64-year-old incumbent secured a new four-year term with a pledge to conditionally allow the restart of idle reactors at the local Sendai nuclear power plant operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co.
It was the first gubernatorial election to be held since a reactor at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture was brought back online on July 1.
Before he went into politics, Ito held a senior position at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. His challenger Yoshitaka Mukohara, 55, runs a publishing company in Kagoshima.
Voter turnout was 43.85 percent, compared with 38.99 percent in the previous election.
During the campaign, Ito played down the nuclear issue and instead focused on his accomplishments during the past eight years.
Ito was backed by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and People's New Party, along with opposition entities the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito. He was endorsed by more than 100 organizations, including a farmers’ political association and a regional body under Rengo, Japan's leading union federation.
Ito sought to capitalize on his efforts to energize the local economy and improve education, medical and welfare services.
Mukohara, who serves as director-general of a local antinuclear body, opposed the restart of the Sendai plant and portrayed the election as a prefectural referendum on nuclear power.
The Japanese Communist Party and a sprinkling of local assembly members of the Social Democratic Party and DPJ supported Mukohara. A number of celebrities came to the prefecture to rally support for him.
But as Mukohara announced his candidacy just one month before the official start of campaigning, he struggled to gain voter recognition in many areas other than the prefectural capital of Kagoshima.
- « Prev
- Next »