Eleven gubernatorial campaigns begin

Thursday marked the official beginning of gubernatorial elections in 11 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, some of which involving local IR development as key elements of debate among the candidates.

The races which have known implications for prefectural IR bids are the Osaka, Hokkaido, Kanagawa, and Mie contests.

The first two gubernatorial races—Osaka and Hokkaido—are regarded as being genuinely competitive, and their outcome will exercise significant and possibly decisive policy implications for their local IR bids going forward.

The Kanagawa and Mie races involve well-established incumbents facing single Japan Communist Party-backed challengers, and are not expected to produce any significant leadership changes.

Election Day for these gubernatorial races is April 7.