Takashi Kimura, former vice governor of Kumamoto Prefecture, won Sunday's gubernatorial election, beating his three contenders including Seishi Koyama, former mayor of the city of Kumamoto, the prefecture's capital.

Kimura, who was backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, the country's ruling parties, will be the first new governor of Kumamoto in 16 years. He overcame headwinds from the LDP's high-profile slush funds scandal.

Koyama received voluntary support from the prefectural chapters of four opposition parties in the parliament — the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Democratic Party for the People and the Social Democratic Party.

The election saw competition among the four independent candidates after the incumbent, Ikuo Kabashima, announced his intention to step down.

During the election campaign, Kimura, 49, pledged to continue Kabashima's policies, which he had supported as vice governor. He won widespread support by highlighting his regional development policies following Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.'s (TSMC) expansion into the prefecture, as well as his focus on improving welfare services.

Koyama, 58, vowed to strengthen monitoring of the impact of TSMC operations on groundwater and to develop local industries.

Voter turnout in the gubernatorial election was 49.63%, up from 45.03% in the previous election.