Faced with a rapidly aging society and a growing socioeconomic gap between its prosperous capital and the rest of the prefecture, Kyoto voters go to the polls April 8 to choose a new governor who will be either a well-connected insider or a complete outsider.

After four terms, incumbent Keiji Yamada decided to step down rather than seek re-election. His handpicked successor is Takatoshi Nishiwaki, 62, a former Reconstruction Agency vice minister and transport ministry official who has deep ties with the central government and is backed by the Liberal Democratic Party, Komeito, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party of Japan and Kibo no To (Party of Hope).

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