Media polls agree that Naomichi Suzuki, the conservative candidate backed by the ruling party, has the edge with about three weeks to go until the April 7 Hokkaido gubernatorial election.
Suzuki’s opponent, Tomohiro Ishikawa, has adopted a clear position opposing any IR bid from the northern prefecture, while Suzuki himself has remained vague about the IR policy that he would adopt. Even if Suzuki wins, much will still depend on opinions within the Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly, which also holds its elections on April 7.
The Hokkaido Shinbun poll says that Suzuki “leads” and Ishikawa “follows” in the poll, language that usually indicates that there is a substantial margin between the two candidates. A separate poll by JX Press Corporation agrees that Suzuki is ahead, but it suggests that the race is much closer, with Ishikawa “following hard on his heels.”
More than half a dozen international operators have expressed interest in building an IR at Tomakomai in Hokkaido, and thus are nervously watching the outcome of these quite competitive local elections.