Mayoral candidate advocates Shizuoka city IR bid

Shingo Amano, a candidate for mayor of Shizuoka city, is doing something that no other challenger for a significant local government office has done before—he is using a proposal to build an IR as a means of gathering political support.

In the past, some incumbent governors and mayors have explicitly supported a local IR—and others who are fundamentally pro-IR downplayed their stance as elections approached—but this appears to be the first case in which a pro-IR challenger is attempting to unseat a more reluctant incumbent.

Amano is a major candidate, being a long-time conservative prefectural assemblyman and, in fact, having served as Shizuoka mayor previously in the 1987-1994 period. His main opponent is incumbent Mayor Nobuhiro Tanabe, who is running for his third term. There is also a Japan Communist Party-backed challenger in the race. Election Day is April 7.

“The administration and the citizens are sinking,” Amano recently declared, “Why is it happening? I want to use the power of the city administration to rebuild and revitalize Shizuoka. I want to energize the area, beginning with Nihondaira.”

Nihondaira is a natural plateau in the center of Shizuoka city, noted for its stunning views of Mt. Fuji and the surrounding landscape. Amano, who has long been involved with local tourism promotion, began advocating the construction of an IR at Nihondaira several years ago.

Additionally, a local media report at the beginning of this year suggested that the Genting Group has been looking into the possibility of building an IR at this location, with the encouragement of some local government authorities.