• Kyodo

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A former mayor running without the support of any political party on Sunday defeated by a slim margin the incumbent governor of Tochigi Prefecture who had the backing of all major parties but the Communists.

The victory of Akio Fukuda in the Tochigi race, together with that of writer Yasuo Tanaka in the Nagano gubernatorial election in October, appears to indicate that traditionally conservative rural politics in Japan have been made unpredictable by the growing power of unaffiliated voters.

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