Komeito earns more lower house seats

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi speaks during a press conference Sunday night in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

Komeito won all nine seats in the single-seat constituencies where the party fielded candidates in Sunday’s House of Representatives election, increasing its total number of lower house seats from the 29 it previously held to 32.

In Hiroshima Constituency No. 3, which was embroiled in a “politics and money” scandal involving Komeito’s coalition partner the Liberal Democratic Party, Komeito Secretary General Tetsuo Saito, who is also the land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister, ran for the first time in the constituency and was elected.

In Tokyo Constituency No. 12, where former Komeito leader Akihiro Ota has maintained a strong foothold for years, his successor Mitsunari Okamoto, who was parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs, successfully defended the party’s seat.

Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said at a press conference: “We won in our target of nine single-seat constituencies. It’s a result of the cooperation between the LDP and Komeito.”

Sunday’s election was seen as a tough race for Komeito, with its squeaky-clean image, having to fight under unfavorable conditions. In February, one of its lower house members resigned for staying out late at night at a Tokyo hostess club during a state of emergency. In August, the offices of several lower house members were searched in connection with an investigation of a suspected violation of the Money Lending Business Law.

In the latest election campaign, Komeito vowed to introduce a “future support benefit” package that will be worth about ¥100,000 per child up to high school age, with the aim of supporting pandemic-affected families with children. It also emphasized “political stability” through a coalition with the LDP and severely criticized the cooperation of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party.