The 11 gubernatorial elections slated for April 13 are expecting a total of 35 candidates to run, down from 41 at this point in the lead up to the elections four years ago, according to a Kyodo News survey released Wednesday.

Pundits say the decline reflects a hesitancy on the part of major parties to back anyone amid the growing success of independent candidates, including in the latest gubernatorial races in Nagano and Chiba prefectures and the Yokohama mayoral election.

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