Campaign starts for upper house by-election in Ishikawa Pref.

KANAZAWA, Ishikawa (Jiji Press) — The official campaign period began Thursday for a House of Councillors seat by-election in the prefectural constituency of Ishikawa, central Japan, closely watched as a prelude to this summer’s election for the upper chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament.

The April 24 by-election could be an opportunity for voters to evaluate the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, also president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who took office about a half year ago.

The LDP is resolved to secure the Upper House seat, while the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party fielded their respective candidates at a time when the two opposition parties are struggling to build cooperation for the Upper House poll in the summer.

The Ishikawa poll is for filling the vacancy created by the resignation of LDP member Shuji Yamada as an Upper House lawmaker.

Four people filed their candidacies in the by-election. Of them, Shuji Miyamoto, a 51-year-old former LDP lawmaker in the Upper House, was fielded by the ruling party and is backed by its coalition partner, Komeito. Tsuneko Oyamada, a 43-year-old administrative scrivener, ran on the ticket of the CDP and is backed by the Social Democratic Party. Hiroshi Nishimura, 67, an executive of the JCP’s Ishikawa prefectural chapter, was put up by the party.