• Kyodo

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Incumbent Yasuo Tanaka and former Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Jin Murai filed their candidacies Thursday for the Aug. 6 Nagano gubernatorial election.

Tanaka, 50, who is seeking a third term, is expected to campaign on his fiscal reform record, including enhancing welfare and education measures and reducing the prefecture’s outstanding debt for five years in a row.

The novelist-turned-governor heads New Party Nippon but he refrained from having the small opposition party officially support him in the election. Instead, party members and his individual supporters have formed a new campaign group, they said.

Murai, 69, is a former veteran LDP lawmaker who has held key posts, including head of the National Public Safety Commission. He is backed by the local chapters of the LDP and its junior partner in the ruling bloc, New Komeito.

Murai criticized Tanaka in a rally near JR Nagano Station in the morning, saying, “He had good ideas but has yielded nothing from them.”

Governors are elected to four-year terms.

Tanaka, who took office in October 2000 with a promise to cut costly public works projects, especially dams, quit in July 2002 following a no-confidence vote by the prefectural assembly over his reform push. Voters re-elected him two months later.

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