• Kyodo


Suketaka Matsukata, the 84-year-old governor of Miyazaki Prefecture, has announced he will not run for re-election in summer 2003, ending his 24-year tenure.

The oldest governor in the country told the prefectural assembly on Friday, “I believe I have made some achievements to a certain extent during my terms up to now, and set the course for the future. Prefectural politics in the new century should be entrusted to a new person.”

Along with Oita Gov. Morihiko Hiramatsu, 78, and Toyama Gov. Yutaka Nakaoki, 74, Matsukata is serving his sixth four-year term.

After serving in such posts as Forestry Agency chief, Matsukata was elected Miyazaki governor for the first time in 1979 and has held the seat ever since.

However, he has come under fire for the failure of the Seagaia resort complex, because the prefecture was a shareholder of the semiprivate project.

In addition, his age and his monopoly on the governorship have become targets of criticism.

A former prefectural official has already expressed his intention to make a second run for the governor’s seat, and other figures, including a Diet member, have also been rumored as possible candidates.

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