Mayoral candidates file in Fukushima

Kyodo

Official campaigning began Sunday for the Fukushima mayoral election, with the incumbent and two challengers filing candidacy papers.

Among the biggest issues in the Nov. 17 election are how to protect the health of citizens and decontaminate areas affected by the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear crisis as well as other efforts to speed up recovery from the deadly March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Mayor Takanori Seto, 66, seeking a fourth term, will face independent Kaoru Kobayashi, 54, and Yutaka Yamada, 58, backed by the Japanese Communist Party.

Seto, also an independent, has been recommended by the Liberal Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party.

“I want to dedicate myself wholly to Fukushima’s recovery (from the 2011 disaster) by making use of my post-quake experience,” Seto said.

Kobayashi said, “I will give it my all to change Fukushima,” while stressing the need for prompt decontamination.

Yamada said, “I will work on the elimination of all nuclear power generation and full damage compensation.”

Voter turnout was a record low 38.18 percent in the last mayoral election in 2009.