OSAKA — The Osaka mayoral campaign officially kicked off on Monday with three candidates, incumbent Takafumi Isomura and challengers Kenji Inoue and Koji Matsushita.
The election will be held on Nov. 28.
The three candidates spent the day campaigning around the city. Isomura, who is seeking a second term and has the backing of seven major political parties, has promised economic revitalization through the construction of bay area projects, such as sports facilities.
Inoue and Matsushita are officially independents, but the former candidate has the backing of the Japan Communist Party. Both are running on an anti-Olympics platform and want the city to use money diverted for the 2008 Olympics bid on social welfare programs.
The issue of what to do about the Olympics bid has generated controversy. Inoue’s supporters include those who want to continue the bid process, even though they believe Osaka has little chance of hosting the Games, while others are adamantly opposed.
Isomura, however, is worried that even if he wins, a low voter turnout rate will reflect poorly on the city and that the International Olympic Committee will interpret that as a sign of tepid local support for the Games.
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