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Yokohama Mayor Hayashi expresses resolve to seek re-election


Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi on Monday announced her decision to seek a second four-year term in the mayoral election in August.

"I would like to continue my efforts to enhance official assistance for women raising children to help them build up professional careers in society," the 67-year-old mayor said.

Although she plans to run as an independent in the Aug. 25 election, both the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the No. 1 opposition Democratic Party of Japan have expressed their willingness to give her their support.

Hayashi called reporters' attention to the fact that in May she achieved the policy goal she had set in 2010 of cutting the number of children waiting to enroll in day-care centers to zero in three years.

"The national government highly commended our achievement as the 'Yokohama Model' and adopted it as a pillar of an economic growth strategy," said Hayashi, former chairman of major supermarket chain Daiei Inc.

She said she still has a number of policies she would like to implement during a second term, including greater welfare measures for the elderly and steps to protect the city's residents against natural disasters.

Hayashi, also a former president of BMW Tokyo Corp., won the 2009 election as an independent.

Toyokatsu Shibata, a former city assemblyman of the Japanese Communist Party, has expressed his intention to run as an independent in the upcoming contest and Your Party plans to field a candidate.