National / Politics

LDP-backed incumbents win in Nagasaki and Yamaguchi gubernatorial elections

Incumbents pledging economic promotion are set to win gubernatorial elections in Nagasaki and Yamaguchi prefectures Sunday, beating newcomers who focused more on welfare issues.

In Nagasaki, Hodo Nakamura, 67, beat 56-year-old rival Toshihiko Haraguchi, who belongs to the local chapter of the Japanese Communist Party, in a two-way race, clinching his third term.

While campaigning, Nakamura, an independent backed by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, focused on increasing jobs and helping new residents moving in from other prefectures.

He pledged to attract investment for tourism promotion including through the construction of a casino resort, while Haraguchi sought support for his plan to enhance welfare programs.

In Yamaguchi, Tsugumasa Muraoka, 45, was elected to his second term in a two-way race against Yuzuru Kumano, 64, a former head of the local teachers’ union.

Muraoka, backed by the ruling coalition, vowed to boost the local economy through industrial promotion.

Kumano expressed opposition to the expansion of U.S. military operations at the Iwakuni base in the prefecture and to a plan to build a nuclear power plant in a coastal area. The plant’s construction has been suspended since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan triggered a nuclear crisis in Fukushima.