• Kyodo


A day after winning Sunday’s Aomori gubernatorial race, Shingo Mimura said he feels the heavy responsibility of the post sinking in.

The 47-year-old Mimura, a former Lower House member backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, won the race for the governorship — the second in six months, with support also from the LDP’S two coalition partners, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party.

He defeated three other candidates, including his main rival, Hokuto Yokoyama, 39, a university professor who was backed by the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Independents, a small political group.

Monday was Mimura’s mother’s birthday, and he told a news conference at his campaign headquarters that he was happy to be able to tell her on that day that he will do his best as governor.

During the campaign, Mimura stressed his accomplishments as a House of Representatives member and mayor of the town of Momoishi in the prefecture, with calls for a balance in financial reforms and employment measures.

He initially had strong support only in the Aomori No. 2 electoral district in a general election. However, the LDP and New Komeito mobilized their organizations and ran expensive campaigns for him.

Mimura will take office Tuesday.

Yokoyama, for his part, tried to appeal to unaffiliated voters without emphasizing the support the opposition parties gave him.

The other aspirants were Hiroaki Takayanagi, 33, on the official ticket of the Japanese Communist Party, and Hiroaki Kashiwaya, 48, a company president. Apart from Takayanagi, the three candidates ran as independents despite support from political parties.

With all the ballots counted, 296,828 votes went to Mimura, 276,592 to Yokoyama, 21,709 to Kashiwaya and 19,422 to Takayanagi, the election board said.

Voter turnout was 52.46 percent, up 2.78 percentage points from the previous Aomori gubernatorial election in January.

Former Gov. Morio Kimura, re-elected in January to a third four-year term with support chiefly from the LDP and New Komeito, resigned in May over a sex scandal.

Kimura, also a former Lower House member, was first elected Aomori governor in 1995.

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