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Kochi Prefecture’s gubernatorial election Sunday pitting a ruling coalition-backed candidate against an opponent supported by the main opposition parties is being seen as an important gauge of voter sentiment amid recent scandals that have engulfed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and on opposition camp unity.

Two candidates are running: Seiji Hamada, 56, a former internal affairs bureaucrat and Osaka vice governor, with backing from the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito ruling coalition, and Kenji Matsumoto, 35, a Japanese Communist Party member who also has the backing of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party For the People, and other smaller parties.

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