Anti-Casino candidates defeated in Yokohama mayoral election

    Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi won her third term by a comfortable margin in Sunday’s elections, seeing off a challenge from two candidates who had both made opposition to the construction of an IR in the city their central campaign themes.

    While public opinion polls show clearly that a solid majority opposes the hosting of a casino in their city, the residents of Yokohama stuck with a mayor who is seen as having honorably and successfully governed for eight years. Her earlier championing of the construction of an IR at Yamashita Pier was not seen as sufficient grounds to reject her return to office.

    In January, Mayor Hayashi altered her position from being an open advocate of hosting an IR to adopting a neutral position. Her two opponents in the election strongly criticized her for taking an unclear stance on her plans ahead of the election. Many eyes will be watching to see if she now moves back in support of an IR bid or remains wary of the political opposition.