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New mayors were elected Sunday in two cities in Hiroshima Prefecture after their predecessors resigned over receiving cash from disgraced lawmaker and former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai in relation to the July 2019 Upper House election campaign for his wife, Anri.

Former banker Shinji Ishimaru, 37, won his first term as mayor of Akitakata in the prefecture, beating the sole contender, Mineaki Takemoto, 66, who is a former deputy mayor of the city. Voter turnout stood at 56.98 percent.

Ishimaru’s pledge to prevent scandals by improving compliance won him voter support. Takemoto had vowed to rebuild the city government by demonstrating his long administrative experience, but was unable to catch up with the winning contender.

In the city of Mihara, Yoshihiro Okada, 35, head of a private institute, was elected its mayor for the first time.

Okada, who was supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the poll, defeated former Mihara municipal assembly member Shizuhiko Arai, 68, former Mihara fire department employee Yutaka Sumihiro, 61, and company president Teruhisa Fujioka, 50. Voter turnout came to 48.39 percent.

Katsuyuki and Anri Kawai have been indicted for alleged vote-buying through the distribution of cash to politicians and others in Hiroshima Prefecture, in violation of the public offices election law.

Katsuyuki is a Lower House member whose constituency is in Hiroshima Prefecture. Anri won a parliamentary seat for the first time in the Upper House election, running in the poll from the Hiroshima prefectural constituency.

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