SENDAI – Sendai Mayor Emiko Okuyama appeared certain to be re-elected Sunday for her second four-year term, beating a challenger backed by the Japanese Communist Party, early returns showed.
Okuyama, 62, defeated Tatsuya Kadono, 54, a senior member of a local JCP chapter, in the first mayoral election since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the northeastern Japan city.
Both candidates were running as independents and focusing on the reconstruction of coastal areas in the capital of Miyagi Prefecture.
During the election campaign, the incumbent, who was supported by 43 of the 55 city assembly members, vowed to spearhead efforts to “rebuild hometown” for those affected.
Kadono pledged to revive measures to exempt disaster victims from paying medical costs. The city government terminated the exemption in late March.