OSAKA — The Association to Reform the Osaka Prefectural Government, which consists of the Japanese Communist Party’s local chapter, citizens’ groups and labor unions, announced Friday it will again back Makoto Ajisaka, a former philosophy professor, in the gubernatorial election to be held Feb. 6. Ajisaka, a 66-year-old professor emeritus at Kansai University, ran in the last gubernatorial election in April with the same support and received 920,000 ballots, against the 2.35 million votes garnered by the incumbent, “Knock” Yokoyama, who this week resigned in disgrace and was indicted on a molestation charge. Isamu Tokuhata, secretary general of the association comprising 67 organizations and about 300,000 members, said that once Yokoyama resigns over the sex scandal, a person like Ajisaka, “a man of character who is clean and intelligent,” is needed. Ajisaka made no comments on his candidacy but was quoted as saying he would like to accept the request from the association although he did not expect such an early election just eight months after the last one. Yokoyama’s resignation, which was tendered Tuesday, will be officially accepted at an extraordinary session of the prefectural assembly Monday.

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