PM Kishida “solemnly accepts” party’s loss in by-election before nat’l vote
Written by tokyoclub on October 25, 2021
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday he solemnly accepts the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s loss in one of two by-elections held ahead of the general election this weekend.
The defeat Sunday in Shizuoka Prefecture dealt a blow to Kishida, the LDP leader whose Cabinet approval rate is relatively low for a newly launched Cabinet. The LDP won in Yamaguchi Prefecture, a conservative stronghold.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets the press in Tokyo on Oct. 25, 2021, a day after his Liberal Democratic Party lost one of two House of Councillors by-elections just a week before a general election. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
“We won people’s confidence in Yamaguchi, but saw a disappointing result in Shizuoka. I would like to solemnly accept the judgment of people in (Shizuoka) prefecture,” Kishida told reporters in the morning.
“This is the result of an accumulation of various factors. We will thoroughly analyze them, brace ourselves and continue our efforts toward the House of Representatives election,” he said.
The by-elections for vacant seats in the upper chamber of parliament were the first contests for Diet seats since Kishida took office on Oct. 4, replacing his unpopular predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, and were closely watched as a bellwether for the general election.
Yukio Edano, leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said many opposition camps were encouraged by the Shizuoka outcome.
“It showed the people’s distrust and discontent with the government is very big even after its front cover changed,” Edano said.
Kenji Eda, acting leader of the CDPJ, attributed swing voters’ support for the win in Shizuoka by Shinnosuke Yamazaki, an independent the CDPJ backed with another opposition party, in a close race against Yohei Wakabayashi of the LDP.
“This will give us a boost going into the lower house election. Prime Minister Kishida will not be the face of the election,” Eda said.
Kishida did not mention the by-elections when he gave stump speeches in Osaka Prefecture for candidates in the upcoming election.
Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People, released a statement Sunday evening saying the win by the opposition-backed candidate in Shizuoka gives courage to candidates backed by opposition parties ahead of the general election.
The other race in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan was won by former parliamentary vice industry minister Tsuneo Kitamura, who defeated the Japanese Communist Party’s Kiyo Kawai, a former prefectural assembly member, and Shota Harada, more widely known as YouTuber Hezumaryu.