• Kyodo

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Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Shigefumi Matsuzawa formally announced Wednesday that he will run for governor of Kanagawa Prefecture in the April 13 election.

Speaking at a news conference at the prefectural government office, the 44-year-old House of Representatives member said he would submit his letter of resignation to the party on Thursday. He is expected to run for governor as an independent.

“We are seeing the advent of reform-minded leaders at the local government level and major changes are afoot,” Matsuzawa said. “I feel that now is the time for local (governments) to rise to action.”

Matsuzawa, who represents the Kanagawa No. 9 constituency, is expected to campaign for the election before resigning from the Diet. He will automatically lose his seat when the official campaign period begins. A by-election will most likely be held to fill his seat on Oct. 26, unless the Lower House is dissolved for snap elections first. Under election laws, by-elections can only be held twice a year.

Matsuzawa, who was born in Kawasaki, served as a Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly member until July 1993, when he was elected to the Lower House as a member of the now-defunct Shinseito party. He is currently serving his third term and is chairman of the Lower House ad hoc committee on disaster prevention.

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