YAMAGATA – Incumbent Yamagata Gov. Mieko Yoshimura secured a second four-year term Thursday because she was the only one who filed a candidacy for the Jan. 27 election.
The last time a prefectural governor was returned without a vote was in November 2011 when Kochi Gov. Masanao Ozaki ran uncontested. In Yamagata’s case, Yoshimura’s return was the first time in 54 years in which there was only one candidate.
Yoshimura, 61, has not accepted any official endorsement from political parties, hoping to gain widespread support from residents of the prefecture, although the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party back her.
After becoming in 2009 the first female governor in the Tohoku region, she abolished the Yamagata governor’s retirement allowance and halved the number of vice governors in line with her campaign pledges.
Since the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster started in 2011, Yoshimura, whose prefecture has no nuclear plants, has advocated ending Japan’s reliance on atomic power. In seeking re-election, she has pledged to promote development of renewable energy and measures to generate more jobs.