Communist elected mayor of merged city in Akita

In the mayoral election in Yuzawa City in the northern Japanese of Akita Prefecture on April 17, Suzuki Toshio, a Japanese Communist Party member was elected to head the city after it merged with two towns and a village. He is the country's first communist mayor elected after a merger of municipalities.

The election was contested by four candidates, two former city mayors and two former town mayors.

Suzuki was supported by the "Association for All," in which many non-partisan people joined.

Suzuki called for efforts to attract more tourists to Yuzawa, a resort town with many hot springs, and promote local industries, including sake (a brewed alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice), lacquer ware, and udon (thick white noodles), as well as agriculture.

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In the Hino City mayoral election in Tokyo held on the same day, Kubota Hiromichi put up a good fight with the support of the JCP but was defeated. The incumbent mayor supported by the Liberal Democratic, Komei, Democratic, and Social Democratic parties was re-elected.

Kubota got 42.7 percent of the total votes cast, an increase of 1,200 votes, or 5 percent, from the previous election.

The number of votes for Kubota was 3.2 times as much as that of the JCP's votes in the 2004 House of Councilors proportional representation election results in the city, and the returned was less than 0.5 times as much as those of the four parties'.

Kubota called for curbing the rampant construction of major apartment complexes and restoring the welfare budget. (Akahata April 18, 2005)

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