• Kyodo

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Official campaigning started Thursday for the July 13 gubernatorial election in Shiga Prefecture, with the race among three newcomers expected to focus on the economy and nuclear power.

The three who registered as candidates to succeed Gov. Yukiko Kada were Takashi Koyari, 47, a former bureaucrat in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Taizo Mikazuki, 43, a former Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker, and Ikuo Tsubota, 55, a junior high school teacher, all running as independents.

Koyari is backed by local chapters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, New Komeito, while Mikazuki is supported by the main opposition DPJ and Kada, who is known for her anti-nuclear stance.