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SAITAMA (Kyodo) Hayato Shimizu, supported by the Democratic Party of Japan, was headed toward certain victory in Sunday’s mayoral election in the city of Saitama, beating five rivals, including the incumbent backed by the ruling camp, according to Kyodo News projections.

The election has been closely watched as the first major local election since Yukio Hatoyama took over as DPJ president earlier this month from Ichiro Ozawa, who resigned over a fundraising scandal involving his top aide.

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