Eleven gubernatorial election campaigns start

Election campaigns for eleven governorships, including one for Metropolitan Tokyo, officially started on March 27.

In Tokyo, Japanese Communist Party candidate Wakabayashi Yoshiharu, joined by JCP Chair Shii Kazuo, made his first speech in front of Shinjuku Station.

Shii called on an audience of 7,000 to replace Governor Ishihara Shintaro, who supports the U.S. war against Iraq and shows hostility to anti-war public opinion, with Wakabayashi who stands for citizens' demands for peace.

Shii said the U.S. war against Iraq is a preemptive attack violating the United Nations Charter. He said that it is a war of aggression intended to impose the American empire to yet another country, interfering in its internal affairs and violating its sovereign rights.

On the four-year administration under Governor Ishihara, Shii criticized the governor for slashing welfare budgets by 6 percent and spending more money on large development projects.

Governor Ishihara, who seeks his second term, has plans for further cuts in welfare and other social services. An independent woman candidate calls for "change" but is unable to explain in what ways the metropolitan government should change.

JCP Chair Shii said that the major confrontation exists only between Ishihara and Wakabayashi who pledges to defend peace and peoples' livelihoods. (end)

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