A candidate backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won Sunday's election for governor of Tokyo, frustrating a rival's efforts to make the vote a referendum on the Japanese leader's pro-nuclear energy policy nearly three years after the Fukushima disaster.
The widely-expected victory by former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe comes as a relief for Abe, who had suffered a rare setback in another local election last month.
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The 65-year-old Masuzoe, backed by Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, was the winner by a wide margin, according to media exit polls. Even before most votes were counted, Masuzoe's opponents conceded defeat.
The winner's most prominent rival was former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa, 76, who came out of retirement to run and - with support from charismatic ex-premier Junichiro Koizumi - had put opposition to atomic energy at the core of his platform in the race to lead the capital city of 13.3 million people.