Anti-casino Mayoral candidate emerges in Wakayama

The issue of Wakayama’s IR bid will be a leading point of contention in the city’s July 29 mayoral election after a decidedly anti-casino challenger, Kumiko Shima, announced her candidacy.

Shima, whose background is in NPO work addressing the needs of children and regarding welfare policy, will run as an independent, but she is hoping to gain the support of left-leaning political parties as well.

Asked her stance on the city’s plans for an IR at the Marina City location, she responded, “I personally know some people who are supporting gambling addicts. I know their pain, and Wakayama doesn’t need it.”

Her central campaign theme is, “Moving from Cold Politics to a Kind City Government.”

Incumbent Mayor Masahiro Obana is a keen supporter of the IR bid, though he recently differed with his ally, Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka, over the issue of Japan residents being permitted to enter the prospective casino. Mayor Obana recently underlined his stance that the casino would be operated solely for foreign tourists.