Campaigning kicks off for Shizuoka Prefecture's gubernatorial race

Official campaigning has kicked off to choose the new governor of central Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture.

Shizuoka Governor Kawakatsu Heita tendered his resignation in April before the end of his fourth term.

A record six people have filed their candidacies for what is shaping up to be the first gubernatorial race in 15 years to not involve an incumbent or former governor.

The candidates are Yokoyama Masafumi, who heads a political group; Mori Daisuke, who leads the Japanese Communist Party's Shizuoka prefectural committee; as well as four independents, including former Hamamatsu City Mayor Suzuki Yasutomo, who is supported by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Democratic Party for the People; former Shizuoka Deputy Governor Omura Shinichi, who is supported by the Liberal Democratic Party; Murakami Takeshi, who is self-employed; and Hamanaka Satomi, a consulting firm president.

The main campaign issues will likely include Kawakatsu's gubernatorial record, the construction of the maglev-train section in Shizuoka -- which the prefecture has yet to approve -- revival of the local economy and Shizuoka's declining population.

Voters will go to the polls on May 26 and the results will be tabulated that day.