LDP Headed for 2 ‘Losses By Default’ in Diet By-Elections; Outcome Could Affect Management of Kishida Administration

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People gather for a campaign rally in Shimane Constituency No. 1 in Matsue on Saturday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party was headed for a pair of “losses by default” Sunday as voters went to the polls for three House of Representatives by-elections, having fielded a candidate for only one of the available seats.

Among Tokyo Constituency No. 15, Shimane Constituency No. 1 and Nagasaki Constituency No. 3, the LDP put up a candidate only in the Shimane race, which was effectively a one-on-one battle between the LDP and opposition parties. The results are to be announced Sunday night and could affect Kishida’s management of his administration.

The by-election for Shimane Constituency No. 1, which covers Matsue and some neighboring municipalities, was called following the death of former lower house Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda. The LDP fielded a rookie candidate who is also backed by the LDP’s junior coalition partner, Komeito, against a former lower house lawmaker from the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

The Tokyo by-election was called after the resignation of former State Minister for Justice Mito Kakizawa, who was convicted of violating the Public Offices Election Law. Kakizawa left the LDP after an investigation against him was launched. Overall, nine individuals ran for election in the constituency, which covers Koto Ward, Tokyo.

The resignation of Yaichi Tanigawa spurred the by-election in Nagasaki Constituency No. 3. Tanigawa was also convicted for violating the Political Funds Control Law, and left the LDP before resigning from the Diet.

Nagasaiki’s election was a face-off between opposition parties. A former CDPJ lower house lawmaker who was also backed by the Social Democratic Party ran against a Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) rookie also backed by Free Education for All — a party that forms a parliamentary group with Nippon Ishin in both chambers of the Diet.