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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 August 18 - 24  > Yokohama mayoral race results represent voters’ verdict of ‘No’ to casinos and to Suga administration
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2021 August 18 - 24 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Yokohama mayoral race results represent voters’ verdict of ‘No’ to casinos and to Suga administration

August 24, 2021

In the Yokohama mayoral election held on August 22, a joint candidate of concerned citizens and opposition parties, Yamanaka Takeharu, beat the pro-casino incumbent and another candidate, who was supported by Prime Minister Suga and the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, by a wide margin. The final voter turnout rate stood at 49.05%.

Together with anti-casino residents, the Japanese Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party, and local political parties all worked hard for Yamanaka’s victory.

During the election campaign, Yamanaka promised to withdraw from the current promotion of casino development and improve the city’s COVID countermeasures, winning 506,392 votes or 33.59% of total vote cast.

The PM Suga-backed candidate, Okonogi Hachiro, who is a former chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, only obtained 325,947 votes. Yokohama contains the constituency of Suga's seat in the House of Representatives. The debacle of the LDP candidate in the mayoral election in PM Suga’s home district indicates the defection of voters which delivered a crushing blow to the PM Suga-led LDP/Komei government.

The incumbent candidate, Hayashi Fumiko, who pushed forward with the casino-centric “Integrated Resort (IR)” development in Yokohama in defiance of citizens’ strong opposition, was defeated by 196,926 votes. This also translates to voters’ rejection of the casino promotion ploy which is one of the key domestic policies of the Suga government.

On the day after the election, JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira at a press conference in the Diet building pointed out, “During the election campaign, in reaction to overwhelming popular sentiment generated by civil movements, even the Suga-backed candidate expressed objection to the casino promotion.” He added, “PM Suga should take the election results seriously and decide to repeal its policy to promote the establishment of casinos in Japan.”

Furthermore, Koike said that the election results indicated the strong anger among a wide range of citizens against the Suga government’s incompetence in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that PM Suga should change current policy to one which includes providing sufficient support to medical institutions and healthcare workers, implementing a mass testing measure aimed at putting a stop to the spread of infection, and cancelling the Paralympic Games.

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