OKAYAMA/TOYAMA – The governors of Okayama and Toyama prefectures both won re-election Sunday after stressing their experience and achievements during the campaigns.
Toyama Gov. Takakazu Ishii, 70, defeated Kanji Kometani, 69, an independent backed by the Japanese Communist Party, to win a fourth term.
Ishii had to overcome a political money scandal that led to the resignation of prefectural assembly members. While he ran as an independent, he had the strong support of the local chapters of the Liberal Democratic Party, Komeito and the Democratic Party, as well as various associations.
Ishii stressed his past efforts to restore the financial health of the prefectural government, while vowing to strengthen the pharmaceutical industry in Toyama to help spark the local economy.
Ishii received 266,673 votes, while Kometani garnered just 46,081. Voter turnout was 35.34 percent, a record low, according to the prefectural election board.
In Okayama, Ryuta Ibaragi, 50, was re-elected after leaving last-minute campaigning to his wife, Nami, as he focused on handling the aftermath of a strong earthquake that jolted northern parts of the prefecture Friday.
Ibaragi, a former president of the Okayama-based department store chain Tenmaya Co., became in 2012 the first businessman elected as Okayama governor.
He ran as an independent backed by the LDP, Komeito and the DP, emphasizing his first-term achievements regarding education reform and revitalizing the local economy.
The defeated challenger, Kanji Uemoto, 57, ran as an independent supported by the JCP.
Ibaragi won 471,906 votes, while Uemoto gained 60,692. Voter turnout was a record low 33.91 percent, prefectural officials said.