Kanazawa, Ishikawa Pref. – Former Education Minister Hiroshi Hase was elected governor of Ishikawa Prefecture for the first time after beating four other candidates in a poll on Sunday.
The gubernatorial election was closely watched as it involved three conservative candidates, including two former lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
The LDP prefectural chapter backed both Hase, a 60-year-old former House of Representatives member, and Shuji Yamada, a 67-year-old former House of Councilors member.
Hase, a professional wrestler turned politician, has won support from former prime ministers Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga as well as Nippon Ishin no Kai.
His campaign platform included a 30% reduction in the governor’s salary and a 50% reduction in retirement pay for the position.
He will replace Masanori Tanimoto, 76, who served as governor of Ishikawa for seven consecutive four-year terms, the longest term of any serving prefectural governor in Japan.
Yamada was supported by most members of the LDP prefectural assembly as well as the prefectural chapters of two opposition parties – the Democratic Constitutional Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party. He pledged to strengthen regional revitalization measures.
The other conservative candidate was Yukiyoshi Yamano, 59, who served as mayor of Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa, for 11 years. He proposed to create an international school.
Voter turnout rose to 61.82% from the all-time high of 39.07% marked in the previous gubernatorial election.
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