LDP incumbent Sato, supported by Abe during fateful speech, projected winner in Nara

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Kei Sato

Kei Sato, the Liberal Democratic Party incumbent for whom former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was giving a speech when he was fatally shot Friday, was projected to win reelection to the House of Councillors from the Nara Constituency, where one seat is up for grab, on Sunday.

Sato, 43, campaigned on a platform of revitalizing the economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic based on his experience as a former Economy, Trade and Industry parliamentary vice-minister.

In addition to strengthening his base among conservatives, Sato broadened his support among young voters, including students and young entrepreneurs, through repeated discussions.

Abe was shot in front of a train station in Nara City on Friday as he was making a speech supporting Sato. He was pronounced dead hours later.

“Former Prime Minister Abe came [to Nara] to support me and was killed by a terrorist’s bullet,” Sato said Sunday after he was projected as the winner. “We did not flinch in the face of terrorism, but fought through it.”

Sato said he will go to Tokyo on Monday to mourn Abe and “inform” him of the election result.