Ruling Bloc-Backed Candidate Elected Kochi Governor

Politics

Kochi, Nov. 24 (Jiji Press)--Seiji Hamada, a former Japanese bureaucrat and a candidate backed by the ruling coalition, was elected governor of Kochi Prefecture, western Japan, on Sunday.

Hamada, 56, former internal affairs ministry official, defeated Japanese Communist Party member Kenji Matsumoto, 35, who ran as a unified opposition candidate.

Sunday's result followed losses in two consecutive gubernatorial elections by candidates supported by the ruling bloc, in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, in August and in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, in September.

The Kochi race came after Masanao Ozaki did not seek reelection as governor after serving three successive four-year terms. In the previous two races, Ozaki won uncontested.

Hamada collected 173,758 votes against 111,397 votes garnered by Matsumoto. Voter turnout came to 47.67 pct, down nearly 2 percentage points from the previous 2007 election.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press