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IBARAKI, Osaka Pref. — Mutsuko Katsura, the Ibaraki Municipal Assembly member who ran for re-election while 5 months pregnant, emerged victorious in the Jan. 28 poll.

Katsura won 2,940 votes, the ninth-largest number among the 40 candidates running for the 32-seat assembly. Voter turnout was 48.39 percent.

“I’ve never experienced an election campaign as satisfactory as this one,” Katsura told campaign staffers and supporters after winning the race. “I will continue to work to expand the network of citizens during my second four-year term.”

Most candidates carried out their election campaigns in the traditional way, relying on organized votes and bowing while repeating their names incessantly over microphones and loudspeakers.

But Katsura, who is unaffiliated with any major political party, tried to appeal to voters with explanations of her policies and the work she did during her first term in office.

Before the official campaign kicked off, her campaign staffers distributed about 30,000 leaflets that described her policies and work in office in detail.

Unfavorable rumors about her pregnancy were spread during the campaign, but they had little negative impact. Instead, Katsura said, many young mothers offered her encouragement. She told voters through loudspeakers on her campaign van that she will be a mother in June and will make use of that experience if elected.

“I think many voters with no party affiliation felt I was close to them, especially those young mothers,” Katsura said. “It was good that I was able to break away from traditional campaign methods.”

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