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Growing hopes for the incumbent’s leadership amid Japan’s worst postwar crisis helped Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara score a victory in the gubernatorial election Sunday, a month after the March 11 killer quake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku region.

Key challengers in the race failed to give voters the impression they could cope with the natural and nuclear disasters better than Ishihara, allowing him to secure his fourth four-year term. The victory by Ishihara, considered an outspoken and strong leader, also underscored concerns over the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, whose leadership has been called into question, particularly in relation to the handling of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

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