• Kyodo

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Independent candidate and former bureaucrat Yuichiro Ito was headed toward victory Sunday evening in the Kagoshima gubernatorial race, according to a Kyodo News projection.

Ito, 56, a former bureaucrat in the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry, looked to be leading independents Koji Mizoguchi, 68, and Yoshihisa Tamarimizu, 62, as well as Kanji Arimura, 70, who ran on the Japanese Communist Party ticket.

During his career at the home affairs ministry, Ito oversaw the decentralization of administrative authority to local governments.

The election had been seen as a de facto two-man race between Ito and Mizoguchi partly because local members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party were divided in their support for the two candidates.

Mizoguchi, a former president of the prefectural assembly, had pledged to use his three decades of experience as an assembly member to the benefit of the local administration.

Voter turnout as of 7:30 p.m. was 50.78 percent, up 14.83 percentage points compared with the corresponding time in the previous election four years ago.

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