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Incumbent Nagano Gov. Shuichi Abe wins re-election

Kyodo

Nagano Gov. Shuichi Abe was re-elected in the gubernatorial election on Sunday for a second four-year term, beating two challengers.

The 53-year-old politician, who ran as an independent, was supported by major political parties including the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, New Komeito, as well as the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

Abe was elected by a narrow margin of about 5,000 votes in 2010, with the LDP and New Komeito both supporting a rival candidate.

“I’d like to do my best to live up to expectations of prefectural residents,” Abe said a meeting at a local hotel on Sunday.

During the official campaigning that started July 24, he highlighted his achievements during his first term.

The two independent challengers were Shumpo Noguchi, 71, backed by the Japanese Communist Party, and Takashi Negami, 64, a company president.

Noguchi, an honorary professor at Shinshu University, had tried to win votes by opposing a project for a magnetically levitated train that will pass through the southern area of Nagano Prefecture, saying it will destroy the environment.

Voter turnout stood at a record-low 43.56 percent. Abe garnered 626,462 votes, while Noguchi received 106,120 votes and Negami 11,209 votes.