OMA, AOMORI PREF. – The mayor of Oma, Aomori Prefecture, who supports the construction of a local nuclear plant, was elected Sunday to a fourth term, defeating three first-time candidates.
The victory by Mitsuharu Kanazawa, a 66-year-old independent, came in the first mayoral voting in Oma in 16 years. In each of the past three races, he was handed a new four-year term since he ran unopposed.
Voter turnout came to 78.89 percent.
The main election issue was the ongoing project by Electric Power Development Co., better known as J-Power, to construct a nuclear plant in the town, with the start of operations slated for around fiscal 2024.
During the campaign, Kanazawa attracted voter support by highlighting the job-creation potential if the plant is constructed ahead of schedule.
Of the three challengers, Naofumi Nozaki, 61, a former town official, said Oma should not rely fully on the nuclear plant, while Hideki Sasaki, 67, called for a referendum on whether to go ahead with the project. The third, Atsuko Kumagai, 62, called outright for the project to be canceled.
Kanazawa garnered 2,081 votes while Nozaki gained 1,523. Sasaki received 79 votes and Kumagai got 34.