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New Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka, making his debut Thursday at the prefectural office, said he will pursue a new administration that can “flexibly and quickly” absorb the opinions of the people.

Tanaka, 44, an award-winning novelist who beat out the incumbent’s handpicked successor in the Oct. 15 gubernatorial race, was greeted by officials and citizens at the entrance to the prefectural headquarters shortly past 9 a.m.

Tanaka wore a dark-gray designer business suit and arrived in a car driven by one of his supporters. He has criticized the use of official limousines by prefectural officials as being extravagant.

In accordance with his wishes, the prefectural staff did away with traditional formalities such as the presentation of a bouquet of flowers by a female prefectural worker.

Speaking later before 500 prefectural employees, Tanaka stressed that they all should be aware that their job is to serve the people.

He ordered each of the workers to submit a report within a week on what can be done for Nagano’s future.

Tanaka, with the support of unaffiliated voters, labor unions and some local business leaders, defeated former Vice Gov. Fumitaka Ikeda, who had been handpicked by the departing governor, Goro Yoshimura.

Tanaka’s election victory marked a landmark departure from politics as usual in Nagano, where vice governors and prefectural bureaucrats chosen by the departing governor are usually elected. There have been only three Nagano governors since the end of World War II.

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