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April 13 and 27 will witness a combined 2,364 elections covering governors, mayors and prefectural and municipal assemblies, according to a Kyodo News study.

These so-called unified elections are down by 73 from similar unified local elections in 1999 due to resignations of elected officials and mergers of cities, towns and villages.

But the elections will represent a political showdown nationwide for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and is certain to have major implications for the next round of House of Representatives elections.

Gubernatorial elections are scheduled for April 13 in Tokyo and Hokkaido, Iwate, Kanagawa, Fukui, Mie, Tottori, Shimane, Fukuoka, Saga and Oita prefectures. There will also be elections involving 44 prefectural assemblies.

Balloting that day will also decide the Sapporo mayoral race and assemblies in Saitama city and 11 other municipalities.

April 27, meanwhile, will have 674 mayoral and 1,622 municipal assembly elections.

Unified local elections have been held since 1947 as a way to heighten voter awareness of local politics, but midterm resignations of elected officials have reduced the number of elections needed on the same day.

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