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Sawako Naito, a 36-year-old independent rookie, was elected head of the city of Tokushima on Sunday, becoming the youngest female mayor in Japan.

Naito, who leads a community development group, defeated incumbent Mayor Akiyoshi Endo, 64, by 41,247 votes to 39,248.

Voter turnout fell to 38.88 percent from 45.70 percent in the previous mayoral election.

Naito won the election pledging to cut the mayor’s salary by 50 percent and strengthen cooperation between the city and the prefectural government.

Endo was unable to catch up with Naito, although the independent incumbent highlighted the achievements of his four-year tax and fiscal reform efforts.

Due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, they refrained from holding large-scale gatherings, campaigning primarily through the internet and vehicles.

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