KUMAMOTO – Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima won re-election for a third four-year term Sunday, defeating two fresh challengers, according to a Kyodo News projection.
Kabashima, 69, was backed by the local chapters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito.
He faced challenges from Seishi Koyama, 50, a former Kumamoto mayor, and Daisuke Terauchi, 50, a lawyer backed by a civic group affiliated with a local chapter of the opposition Japanese Communist Party.
Kabashima commanded wide support from the public given his performance in his second term, during which the prefecture saw incomes from agricultural production rise and the prefecture heavily promoted through its popular Kumamon black bear mascot.
The mascot remains one of the most popular regional mascots in Japan.