KOCHI – Former internal affairs ministry bureaucrat Seiji Hamada, a candidate supported by the ruling bloc, on Sunday defeated a rival backed by four opposition parties in the Kochi gubernatorial election to succeed the three-term incumbent.
Hamada, 56, beat fellow newcomer Kenji Matsumoto, 35, a Japanese Communist Party member who was also backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People and the Social Democratic Party.
Outgoing Gov. Masanao Ozaki secured his second and third terms in 2011 and 2015 without votes in the absence of other candidates.
Hamada, supported by the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito, pledged to promote the local economy, while Matsumoto called for administrative reform of the prefectural government to tackle pressing issues including a declining population.