Anti-nuclear Candidate Wins Niigata Gubernatorial Election – A Joint Struggle between Civil Groups and the Opposition Parties Gained Momentum

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Joint opposition candidate Yoneyama Ryuichi won the October 16 Niigata gubernatorial election. Since the start of the campaign, Yoneyama expressed a clear anti-nuclear position.  He gathered about 60,000 votes more than former Nagaoka Mayor Tamio Mori, who was backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic party. Various civil groups and the opposition parties devoted all their energies to the election campaign under the slogan of “we will win no matter what as long as residents of Niigata prefecture all pull together”.  The result followed the victory of opposition-backed Satoshi Mitazono who had promised to achieve a halt to a local nuclear plant in the Kagoshima gubernatorial election in July and the defeat of the LDP candidate in the Niigata constituency in the House of Councilors election also in July. The election result is a huge blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policy, which attempts to restart nuclear power plants across Japan and the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement.

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