Wakayama Gov Yoshinobu Nisaka, who is aiming to host a casino resort as a way to revitalize the economy of the western Japan prefecture, secured a fourth consecutive term Sunday, beating a challenger backed by the Japanese Communist Party.
Nisaka, 68, won another four-year term with the help of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its junior coalition partner Komeito as well as opposition parties the Democratic Party for the People and the Social Democratic Party, pitching achievements including disaster prevention measures.
During campaigning, Nisaka said he would seek to host a casino resort to spur tourism, after the Diet passed a bill in July authorizing the establishment of casinos as part of "integrated resorts," comprising hotels, conference rooms and shopping facilities.
Voter turnout was 38.33 percent, down 1.32 points from the previous election.
"The negative effects of having a casino can be prevented. I will explain its positive sides to the citizens," Nisaka told reporters after declaring victory.
The first integrated resorts will likely open in the mid-2020s after the government selects locations, with Nagasaki, Osaka and Wakayama prefectures as well as Hokkaido so far expressing interest.
Nisaka's sole challenger, Masayoshi Hatanaka, 66, who works for a citizens' ombudsman, voiced opposition to hosting a casino resort, citing concerns about gambling addiction.