• Kyodo


Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi was headed for re-election to a second four-year term Sunday as projections and early returns showed her defeating two fellow independents.

Hayashi, a 67-year-old independent backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan and New Komeito, appeared set to prevail over convenience store owner Mikifumi Yano, 38, and former Yokohama assemblyman Toyokatsu Shibata, 66, who was endorsed by the Japanese Communist Party.

Hayashi, a former president of BMW Tokyo Corp. and former chairman of supermarket chain Daiei Inc., played up her role in zeroing out the waiting lists for day care centers in the city of 3.7 million people and pledged to continue efforts to bolster assistance for child-rearing, expand welfare services for the elderly and boost the regional economy.

Shibata criticized Hayashi for lowering the quality of child-care services by promoting privately run day care centers and vowed to win medical cost exemptions for children up to the sixth grade.

Yano called for strengthening the city’s disaster-preparadness and enhancing education.

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