National / Politics

Casino advocate Wakayama Gov. Yoshinobu Nisaka beats only challenger to secure fourth term

Kyodo

Wakayama Gov. Yoshinobu Nisaka, who is aiming to host a casino resort as a way to revitalize the economy of the prefecture, secured a fourth consecutive term Sunday according to exit polls, beating a challenger backed by the Japanese Communist Party.

The 68-year-old governor won another four-year term with the help of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito as well as opposition parties the Democratic Party for the People and the Social Democratic Party. Achievements highlighted during the campaign included disaster prevention measures.

Nisaka said he will seek to host a casino resort in the prefecture to spur tourism, after the Diet passed a bill in July authorizing the establishment of casinos as part of “integrated resorts” that comprise hotels, conference rooms and shopping facilities.

The first integrated resorts will likely open in the mid-2020s after the government selects locations, with Nagasaki, Osaka and Wakayama prefectures as well as Hokkaido having expressed interest so far.

Nisaka’s sole challenger, Masayoshi Hatanaka, 66, who works for a citizens’ ombudsman and was supported by the Japanese Communist Party, voiced opposition to hosting a casino resort citing concerns about gambling addiction.