• Elections

Party leaders travel 78,938 kilometers while campaigning

The Yomiuri Shimbun
From top left: Fumio Kishida, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, in Niigata; Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi in Yokohama; Kenta Izumi, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, in Kawasaki; Ichiro Matsui, leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) in Osaka; Kazuo Shii, leader of the Japanese Communist Party, in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo; Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People in Nagoya; Taro Yamamoto, leader of Reiwa Shinsengumi, in Shinjuku Ward; Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party, in Shinjuku Ward; and Takashi Tachibana, leader of NHK Party, in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

Leaders of the nine major ruling and opposition parties traveled a total distance of 78,938 kilometers — equivalent to two times around the Earth — during the 18-day House of Councillors election campaign to seek support from voters.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun’s independent tally of the distance traveled by the nine leaders, Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party President Fumio Kishida traveled 14,786 kilometers while campaigning, the second longest among the nine.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Kishida made speeches in 27 prefectures, mainly in constituencies where one upper house seat is up for grabs. These races could be pivotal in determining the overall election results.

During the campaign period, Kishida left the country to attend the Group of Seven summit meeting in Germany and other events from June 26 to 30. Nevertheless, his campaign-related travel exceeded that of then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s 13,881 kilometers for the 2016 upper house election. Both campaigns lasted 18 days.

Following the fatal shooting of Abe on Friday, Kishida canceled speeches in Fukushima Prefecture and Kyoto scheduled for that afternoon, and returned to the Prime Minister’s Office to address the situation.

Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi traveled 7,877 kilometers, mostly in support of candidates in seven constituencies. In particular, he made several visits to Saitama, Kanagawa, Aichi, Hyogo and Fukuoka constituencies, which the party considers to be important.

Yamaguchi worked to spread his visits throughout those constituencies, visiting several municipalities within the same prefectures.

Kenta Izumi, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, traveled 12,932 kilometers and visited 22 prefectures, mainly in constituencies with close races. Izumi went three times to Kyoto, his own turf, where nine candidates are running for two seats, and made street speeches from the morning hours.

Ichiro Matsui, leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) campaigned mainly in his stronghold in the Kansai region. He traveled only 2,569 kilometers, due to his official duties as Osaka mayor.

Japanese Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii traveled in 21 prefectures and accumulated 13,442 kilometers, the third longest distance among the nine leaders. The opposition parties’ struggle for unity ended in failure, which prompted Shii to travel widely in support of the candidates that the JCP party fielded across the country.

The greatest distance was traveled by Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People, at 14,923 kilometers. Tamaki went seven times to Kanagawa, five times to Aichi and four times to Fukuoka.

Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party traveled 6,232 kilometers. The party faces the challenge of maintaining a major requirement to be recognized as an official national political party.

Reiwa Shinsengumi leader Taro Yamamoto traveled 2,112 kilometers and NHK Party leader Takashi Tachibana 4,065 kilometers, mostly in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The distances were calculated based on interviews with each party and by measuring the straight-line distances between campaign locations. The distances do not include short trips within the same municipality or within the 23 wards of Tokyo, on official business, or on inspection tours.