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2024 January 31 - February 6 [POLITICS]

Opposition-backed female candidate defeats LDP-endorsed incumbent in Maebashi City mayoral election

February 6, 2024
In the mayoral election held on February 4 in Maebashi City, an independent female candidate, Ogawa Akira, who received support from opposition parties including the Japanese Communist Party, won by a huge margin against her incumbent rival backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties.

Ogawa garnered 60,486 votes while the incumbent candidate, Yamamoto Ryu, obtained 46,387 votes. The voter turnout rate stood at 39.39%.

In Maebashi City, this was the first time that a woman has been elected as mayor. The defeat of the LDP/Komei-endorsed incumbent in the capital of Gunma Prefecture, a traditional conservative stronghold, made a major impact as shown by the fact that Ogawa’s victory grabbed the headlines of national as well as local dailies on the day after the election day.

A focal point in the mayoral race was whether or not to replace the present city government which places excessive emphasis on the use of digital technologies and prioritizes large-scale development projects with a different approach working to protect Maebashi citizens’ lives and livelihoods.

During the election campaign, reacting to a situation where Ogawa succeeded in attracting increasing support among voters, the incumbent camp carried out an anti-communist propaganda assault on a scale larger than ever before, for example, including the distribution of anti-communist leaflets at Ogawa’s campaign rallies.

Regarding Ogawa’s victory, JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira on February 5 at a press conference in the Diet building said, “This election result is significant. It indicates a way to change politics through the joint struggles of opposition parties united with concerned citizens.”
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