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KOBE — Kobe-based activists who had worked with former Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka as volunteers helping this city following the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake are lending support to his re-election bid in the Sept. 1 gubernatorial race.

The Kobe activists say the race for the governorship of relatively distant Nagano Prefecture is not just another local election, but a major test of whether Japan’s democracy is functioning.

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