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Chiba Gov. Morita cruises to second term

Kyodo

Chiba Gov. Kensaku Morita was virtually certain to clinch a second four-year term Sunday after defeating two independents, projections indicate.

Morita, 63, also ran as an independent but was supported by local elements of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, coalition partner New Komeito and small opposition force Your Party.

The other candidates were honorary Chiba University professor Sadanobu Miwa, 75, and shared house operator Yusuke Sato, 31.

“I will dedicate all my strength to Chiba Prefecture for the (next) four years,” Morita told supporters after being assured of re-election.

The race was far from heated. The opposition-leading Democratic Party of Japan failed to field a candidate and didn’t endorse any of the contenders.

The governor, a former member of the House of Representatives, vowed to maintain low expressway tolls on the Tokyo Bay Aqualine, improve operations at Narita airport and enhance crime prevention measures.

Miwa, backed by the Japanese Communist Party and the All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union, criticized Morita as “dependent on big business” and called for improving education and welfare services.

Sato was not involved in active election campaigning.