Incumbent wins in Nago mayoral election

NHK -- Jan 24
Incumbent Mayor Toguchi Taketoyo of Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture, supported by ruling parties, has secured his re-election in Sunday's vote.

The mayoral race comes as the central and prefectural governments remain locked in a standoff over the planned relocation of US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to the city.

Toguchi, supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, garnered 19,524 votes. His rival and newcomer Kishimoto Yohei got 14,439 votes.

Kishimoto, supported by opposition parties and backed by Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny, called for the cancellation of the relocation plan.

60-year-old Toguchi was born in Nago and was first elected as mayor in 2018, after serving in the city's assembly.

During the campaign, Toguchi did not state whether he was for or against the planned relocation. He instead said he would wait and see how the rift between the central and prefectural governments pans out.

Toguchi also underlined his achievements during his first term, such as realizing free school meals and free medical services for children.

After the election, Toguchi said he thinks his governance over the past four years, including child support measures, have been appreciated by voters.

He noted that there have been lawsuits filed by the central and prefectural governments over the relocation plan, and said he, as mayor, had no choice but to wait and see how things will develop.

The voter turnout was 68.32 percent, down 8.6 points from the previous election, and the lowest-ever.