Yokohama LDP opts against backing anti-IR mayoral candidate Okonogi

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The Yokohama branch of Japans Liberal Democratic Party has decided against recommending former chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, Hachiro Okonogi, in the upcoming mayoral election on 22 August.

The decision was made at a general affairs meeting on 11 July, although the LDP said it will allow members to vote freely.

Okonogi, who had headed the Casino Regulatory Commission before announcing his intention to run for mayor, has stated that he will withdraw the Yokohama IR bid if he is elected, taking a vastly different position from his party which has been actively promoting the project. It is said that the city council, which is in favor of the bid, has called for a free vote.

With a free vote, part of the city council is expected to support current mayor Fumiko Hayashi, a strong advocate of IR development, who recently revealed her intention to run for a fourth term.

Hachiro Okonogi

In addition to Okonogi and Hayashi, former Yokohama City University professor Takeharu Yamanaka (48), incumbent Yokohama City Council member Masataka Ota (75), animal protection group representative director Akiko Fujimura (48), Deputy Minister of the Cabinet Office and former member of the House of Representatives Mineyuki Fukuda (57), fisheries wholesaler president Yoshikazu Tsubokura (70), former prosecutor and attorney Nobuo Gohara (66), and former Nagano governor and writer Yasuo Tanaka (65) have all indicated their intention to run.

There have been reports that Shigefumi Matsuzawa (63), a former governor of the prefecture and a member of the House of Councilors, is also motivated to throw his hat into the ring.

Most of the candidates have revealed an anti-IR stance although reports last week that Hayashi intends to run again have provided a huge boost to supporters of IR development in the city.

Yokohama recently announced that two consortiums headed by Genting Singapore and Melco Resorts had qualified for the citys RFP.