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Kumagai wins 1st term as Chiba governor

  • March 22, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 0:56 a.m.
  • English Press

Chiba, March 21 (Jiji Press)–Former Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai won his first term as governor of Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, in Sunday’s election, defeating seven other candidates.


This was the first Chiba gubernatorial election in 12 years that was not joined by an incumbent. Current Chiba Governor Kensaku Morita, who is in his third four-year term, has announced a decision to retire. His current term is set to end in early April.

During his campaign, Kumagai, 43, pledged to enhance measures in response to the novel coronavirus crisis, such as increasing hospital beds and thoroughly conducting polymerase chain reaction tests, and to beef up disaster management steps.

He obtained broad-based support, including from the Chiba prefectural chapters of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), the Democratic Party for the People and the Social Democratic Party, all opposition parties in national politics, and some lawmakers of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito.

Kumagai quit as mayor of the city of Chiba, the capital of the prefecture, earlier this month, during his third term as head of the city, in order to run in the gubernatorial election. He was elected Chiba mayor for the first time in June 2009, after working as a corporate employee and a member of the Chiba city assembly.

The other seven candidates were Masayuki Seki, 41, a former member of the Chiba prefectural assembly, 57-year-old former prep school teacher Rie Kanamitsu, Teruki Goto, 38, who runs his own business, 71-year-old doctor Kenichiro Kato, Shinichiro Minagawa, 66, former principal of a Chiba prefectural high school, Masayuki Hiratsuka, 39, who heads a political group, and 40-year-old corporate manager Yusuke Kawai.

Among them, Seki, who was supported by the LDP, vowed to take over Morita’s policies and introduce free school lunch, but he struggled due to his low name recognition.

Kanamitsu, backed by the Japanese Communist Party, called for the promotion of gender equality, but she ended up failing to attract broad support.

Voter turnout stood at 38.99 pct, up from 31.18 pct in the previous Chiba gubernatorial election.

In a Chiba mayoral election held the same day following the resignation of Kumagai, Shunichi Kamiya, former deputy mayor of the city, beat two other candidates to win his first term for the post.

Drawing support from Chiba city assembly members of the LDP, the CDP and Komeito, Kamiya, 47, demonstrated his track record of aiding the city administration led by Kumagai as his deputy.

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