Pro-IR Yokohama mayor Fumiko Hayashi may seek reelection

Yokohama's IR prospects may look brighter if Hayashi is reelected.
Yokohama's IR prospects may look brighter if Hayashi is reelected.

According to local media reports, pro-IR Yokohama mayor Fumiko Hayashi may run for a fourth term in office at elections in August.

Japan.- With just over a month to go, it’s still not clear exactly who’ll be competing in Yokohama’s mayoral elections – and the fate of the city’s integrated resort plans may depend on it.

After a lot of doubt around the matter, it now seems that current pro-IR mayor Fumiko Hayashi may run for reelection, and her chances may have been boosted due to a large number of anti-IR candidates.

The possibility that Hayashi might run for a fourth term seemed increasingly uncertain after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party showed a preference for anti-IR Hachiro Okonogi as its candidate. However, the party may still support Hayashi if the party believes she could win.

After Yasuo Tanaka, former governor of Nagano prefecture, announced his intention to stand in the mayoral election on August 22, the number of potential anti-IR candidates now stands at eight.

According to the Mainichi Shinbun, the chances of Hayashi winning the race with close to 40 per cent of the vote are improving. The current mayor may be able to count on the support of the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

As for the anti-IR parties, it seems unlikely they will unite behind a single candidate.

In June, Takeharu Yamanaka was selected as the candidate to represent the CDPJ.

Yamanaka is 48 years old and works as a professor at Yokohama City University. He specialises in public health and medical statistics and has recently been working on anti-Covid-19 countermeasures.

He’s known to disagree with the development of an integrated resort, arguing that it could cause issues with gambling addiction.

The CDPJ had hoped to select a unified opposition candidate by April to stand on an anti-IR ticket. The second-largest opposition party in the country, the Japan Communist Party, offered to withdraw its own candidate to give more chances to a single anti-IR candidate.

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