The second half of the local elections which will take place on 21 April were announced last week, with the election result that will be of most interest to IR operators being the Sasebo mayoral election that encompasses the candidate site of Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch.
Norio Tomonaga (70), the incumbent and a supporter of IR promotion, was thought to be running unchallenged for a fourth time. However, Ryuji Tanaka (75), a newcomer and former pension manager, has now announced his candidacy. This is the first election in which Tomonaga will have an opponent in eight years.
According to the Nagasaki Shimbun, Tomonaga has argued that an IR is necessary to stop population decline and secure employment. On the other hand, Tanaka has stated, “Current politics do not take the declining birthrate and aging population head-on. My goal is to revitalize the economy and aim to be an international tourist city,” emphasizing that IR promotion is not a priority for the city.