• Kyodo

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Hachiro Okonogi, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission and a close aide to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, said Tuesday he will run in the August election for mayor of Yokohama.

The election bid will see Okonogi, 56, resign from his Cabinet post, though he did not specify when he plans to do so when asked at a news conference.

Yokohama, with a population of nearly 3.8 million, includes the constituencies of the House of Representatives seats held by Suga and Okonogi.

Campaigning for the election begins Aug. 8 with votes to be cast Aug. 22. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is set to support Okonogi rather than incumbent Mayor Fumiko Hayashi, who has yet to announce whether she will seek a fourth term.

One of the central issues of the election will be whether to go ahead with Yokohama’s bid to host a casino after Japan legalized their operation at so-called integrated resorts in 2018.

In the news conference, Okonogi suggested he will oppose the plan, adding the city to the list of candidates that have pulled out.

Okonogi is known to be close to Suga, who worked in the 1970s as a secretary for his late father and former trade minister Hikosaburo Okonogi.

Last September, Okonogi headed Suga’s successful campaign to become LDP leader and therefore prime minister.

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