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POLITICS > Elections

Suga supports anti-casino candidate in Yokohama mayoral race

All national dailies reported on the official kickoff on Sunday of the Yokohama mayoral election campaign, saying that although the local LDP chapter has chosen not to endorse any particular candidate, Prime Minister Suga, who represents a Yokohama district, has made it clear that he backs former cabinet minister Okonogi Hachiro even though the ex-LDP Diet member is a staunch opponent of incumbent Mayor Hayashi’s bid to host an integrated resort featuring a casino, one of the prime minister’s signature policies. As LDP municipal assembly members are divided over who to support in the eight-contestant race where the casino initiative looms large, Suga has allegedly decided to support Okonogi, who is the son of his political mentor and has been his close ally for decades, in order to prevent an anti-casino former academic fielded jointly by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties from clinching the mayoral post of his home turf. As the ruling LDP has suffered one setback after another in national and key local elections since Suga took office last autumn, the papers projected that the premier’s grip on power may weaken further if the opposition candidate wins. Mayor Hayashi and another candidate are in favor of hosting a gambling facility, while the remaining six contestants are opposed to the idea.

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