Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has endorsed Hachiro Okonogi among the eight candidates contesting for Yokohama mayoral. Suga is not supporting the incumbent Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi.
In a statement on Tuesday, Suga declared that no other candidate was capable of representing the face of Yokohama except for Okonogi. Hayashi will be seeking a fourth term in the mayor’s office that is not subject to a term limit.
Both Hayashi and Okonogi are members of Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) but have varying views regarding the establishment of gambling. Hayashi supports the establishment of an integrated resort (IR) in Japan’s second-largest city, while Okonogi does not. Yokohama mayoral election is scheduled for 22nd August.
Suga’s LDP party and its associate party Komeito are losing popularity in Japan. In the Las month of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Assembly election, LDP lost seats to the opposition. After the loss, Suga promised to analyze the outcome and prepare for the next election.
According to a poll, LDP/ Kimeito is losing control of the Diet due to its effort to push for a multibillion-dollar integrated resorts casino as a catalyst for tourism growth. Polls indicated that casinos are unpopular among the general public.
This review might have led Suga to endorse Okonogi. The outcome of the Yokohama mayoral election is expected to impact Suga’s leadership in LDP. Yokohama is one of Japan’s regions that is seeking Japan’s three IR licenses.