• Kyodo

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Former bureaucrat Takakazu Ishii, an independent backed by the ruling and opposition parties, appeared headed to victory Sunday in a race for the Toyama governorship, early election results showed.

Ishii, 58, former commissioner of the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, was backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party, as well as the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party.

The Japan Communist Party supported Hideo Kuroda, 54, director general of a federation of labor unions in the prefecture.

During the campaign, Ishii vowed to create new business activities and restructure the prefectural administration. Kuroda criticized the current public works policy centered on conventional large development projects.

The election was to choose a successor to Gov. Yutaka Nakaoki, 77, who has served six four-year terms, a national record.

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