Japan’s Opposition Party CDPJ Sweeps 3 By-Elections in Lower House (UPDATE 1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Natsumi Sakai poses after she was assured of victory in the Tokyo Constituency No. 15 by-election on Sunday evening.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan was assured of victory in all three by-elections held on Sunday for the House of Representatives. These were the first national elections to be held since the scandal involving Liberal Democratic Party factions’ violation of the Political Funds Control Law came to light. The issue of politics and money was a focal point during the campaigns.

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 battle between the LDP and opposition parties. The results are likely to affect Prime Minister Fumio 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 was also backed by the LDP’s junior coalition partner, Komeito, against a former lower house lawmaker from the opposition CDPJ.

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 of violating the Political Funds Control Law, and left the LDP before resigning from the Diet.

Nagasaki’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.