Sasayama, 73, has pledged to make the utmost efforts to improve the lives of residents and to promote a city plan to build a local airport off Kobe Port. The opening of the airport is scheduled for 2004.

“This election taught me that there are some residents who really need support to restore their livelihoods,” he said. “The city has to provide help to solve various problems that they have.” Sasayama narrowly won re-election in the mayoral race, the first since the Great Hanshin Earthquake, getting 270,000 votes against the 225,000 ballots cast for Kazuo Onishi, the closest of the two other other candidates.

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