Shinzo Abe’s Japan Diet Seat Set to Remain in LDP Hands after By-Election

Jiji Press
Shinji Yoshida, left, a candidate fielded by the Liberal Democratic Party, speaks after his victory became certain in the by-election for the House of Representatives in Yamaguchi Constituency No. 4 on Sunday night. Akie Abe, the widow of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, stands next to him.

Slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s lower house seat is set to remain in the hands of the Liberal Democratic Party as the ruling party’s official candidate is projected to win Yamaguchi Constituency No. 4 in a by-election Sunday.

Shinji Yoshida, 38, looked certain to win a House of Representatives seat for the first time by defeating Yoshifu Arita, backed by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and three other candidates.

During campaigning, Yoshida had stressed that the constituency needed to remain in LDP hands to honor Abe, who had led the LDP’s largest faction at the time of his death in July. Yoshida had also received the full support of Abe’s wife, Akie.

Arita, 71, had meanwhile focused on criticizing the lengthy Abe administration, but this failed to resonate with voters.

Four other by-elections were also held the same day. Yamaguchi Constituency No. 2, Chiba Constituency No. 5 and Wakayama Constituency No. 1 in the lower house, and Oita Constituency in the House of Councillors.

The ruling and opposition camps have waged an all-out battle, seeing the by-elections as a bellwether on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is the president of the LDP.