Suga ally loses in key local race ahead of national election

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TOKYO (AP) — A close ally of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has been defeated in a high-profile mayoral election in Yokohama, Suga’s home turf, in a sharp setback for the already unpopular leader ahead of general elections later this year. Opposition-backed scientist Takeharu Yamanaka comfortably beat the Suga-backed candidate with support from voters critical of the governing party’s pandemic response and its backing of plans for a waterfront casino. The outcome adds another election loss for Suga, whose favored candidates have been winless in local elections since he took office last September. Sunday’s result is expected to further weaken his grip on power within the governing Liberal Democratic Party ahead of lower house elections that need to be held by Nov. 28.

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