Aug. 22 Yokohama Mayoral Election Drawing Keen Attention


Tokyo, Aug. 1 (Jiji Press)--The Aug. 22 mayoral election in Yokohama, the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, is becoming the focus of attention in Japan's political world.

A total of nine people are expected to run in the election, for which the official campaign period will start Aug. 8.

The result of the poll may affect the following leadership race of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, political watchers said. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, also LDP president, has been elected to the Lower House from the Kanagawa No. 2 constituency, which comprises parts of Yokohama.

The LDP's chapter in Yokohama has decided to allow its members to vote for candidates of their choice in the mayoral election.

But Suga, in a rare move, has clarified his stance of supporting former National Public Safety Commission Chairman Hachiro Okonogi, a 56-year-old LDP member. "I will offer full-fledged support for Mr. Okonogi's political activities," Suga said in an interview with Okonogi, held July 14 as part of the party's election publicity activities. The interview was published in a community newspaper Thursday.

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Jiji Press