The final unified local government elections in Heisei will one of the most widespread Japan has ever seen with gubernatorial elections taking place for 11 prefectures.
Attracting most attention is the Hokkaido gubernatorial election – the only one in the country where the ruling and opposition party have completely conflicting stances.
The main issues will focus on the relationship between the central and regional areas, the JR Hokkaido route review and strategies to handle the rapidly decreasing population. It is also a vital election for hopes of a Hokkaido IR.
Naomichi Suzuki, former mayor of Yubari city and supported by both the LDP and Komeito in this election, said, “I will take into consideration all of the advantages and disadvantages to make the decision.”
On the other hand, Tomohiro Ishikawa, former member of the lower house and supported by the five opposition parties in this election, stands firmly against an IR.
Local gubernatorial elections affecting IRs are also being held in Kanagawa and Osaka, although the Osaka vote is more about when, rather than if, an IR will open. Voting will take place on 7 April and that’s when the first stage of Japan’s IR fate will be determined.