Mayoral Elections in Maebashi and Kyoto: Change and Continuity

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Mayoral Elections in Maebashi and Kyoto: Change and Continuity

In the Maebashi mayoral election, Akira Ogawa, a 41-year-old independent, emerged victorious, becoming the city's first female mayor. Ogawa, who garnered 60,486 votes, defeated the incumbent Ryu Yamamoto, an independent seeking a fourth term, who received 46,387 votes.

Ogawa, endorsed by Rengo Gunma and supported by a citizens group affiliated with the Japanese Communist Party, campaigned under the banner of a "citizens' party," eschewing major party endorsements. She emphasized the need for political change and a renewal of the municipal administration, criticizing bid-rigging scandals and Yamamoto's long tenure in office.

Meanwhile, in the Kyoto mayoral election, Koji Matsui, an independent backed by the LDP, CDP, Komeito, and the Democratic Party for the People, secured a victory over his four rivals. Matsui, with 177,454 votes, defeated Kazuhito Fukuyama, an independent supported by the Japanese Communist Party, who received 161,203 votes.

The election, necessitated by the retirement of four-term mayor Daisaku Kadokawa, focused on evaluating Kadokawa's administration and the city's fiscal rehabilitation measures. Matsui, a Kyoto native and former DPJ Diet member, prioritized "giving back to Kyoto" after retiring from politics and serving as a professor at Keio University.

Despite the LDP's funding scandal, Matsui's campaign strategy aimed to minimize associations with national politics. He declined support from senior LDP officials, and his campaign kickoff event featured no speeches from LDP members or lawmakers to avoid reminding voters of the money-in-politics scandal.