AKITA (Kyodo) Liberal Democratic Party executives Monday welcomed the victory of its candidate in Sunday’s Akita gubernatorial election, a local poll widely seen as a key factor that could affect national politics.
Norihisa Satake, supported by the LDP’s Akita prefectural chapter, beat three other candidates, including one fielded by the Democratic Party of Japan. Satake’s win may affect whether DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa steps down over a political fund scandal involving his aide and Nishimatsu Construction Co.
The latest gubernatorial poll outcome follows the one in Chiba, in which another DPJ-backed candidate lost.
“I believe the policies of the government and the ruling bloc are gradually taking effect,” LDP Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda said. “Although our economic measures are still premature, they are gaining voters’ support.”
The result of the Akita poll will likely have a favorable impact on Prime Minister Taro Aso’s policy, Hosoda added.
The reaction from Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura appeared subdued, but he briefly said he welcomes the poll’s outcome “as a member of the LDP.”
The DPJ reacted calmly to the election outcome, dismissing any link between its defeat in Akita and public anger and distrust toward the DPJ caused by the Nishimatsu scandal.
Satake, 61, a former mayor of the city of Akita also supported by the tiny opposition Social Democratic Party, beat Hiroshi Kawaguchi, 61, backed by the prefectural chapter of the DPJ and Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), as well as independent Shoichiro Sato, 56, and Kaneji Fujimoto, 62, of the Japanese Communist Party.
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