National / Politics

Kanji doppelgangers in election showdown: Pair with same name, written same way, to run in Saga Prefecture


Two men with the same name have filed as candidates in the city assembly election in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, prompting the election board to take the unusual step of asking voters to differentiate between the two by writing something beside their name when they vote on Jan. 29.

Both men are named Shigeru Aoki, which is written using the same three kanji (茂青木). One is a 56-year-old incumbent assembly member and the other a 43-year-old challenger. The election board will ask voters to write either their age, or “incumbent” or “challenger,” beside their name if voting for one among the 32 candidates running for office.

Having two candidates with the same name, written with exactly the same kanji run in a local election is extremely rare, the election board said.

Votes for either of the two that do not specify their choice as required will be apportioned according to the proportion of certain votes each received, the election board added.

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