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In a local race with national implications, next month’s Yokohama mayoral campaign has suddenly become a major challenge to Prime Minister Yoshide Suga on his own turf and a threat to the ruling coalition’s backing of a controversial casino resort plan.

Last month, Hachiro Okonogi, 56, a Liberal Democratic Party Lower House member, announced he would enter the race as an opponent of the plan, which Suga supports. That move means the anti-resort vote could be further split, as Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan-backed Takeharu Yamanaka, 48, and former Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka, 65, are also running against the project.

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