Upper house

Coalition retains seat once held by disgraced LDP MP

There were the usual electoral upheavals and a few surprises, as the vote in the October 31 lower house election signaled a major victory for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

For example, much of the attention paid to Hiroshima’s No.3 District ahead of polling day was about a financial scandal that resulted in the resignation of a husband and wife couple of PLD lawmakers.

But exit polls showed the seat would remain in the hands of the ruling coalition as junior coalition partner Komeito’s Tetsuo Saito was set to win it.

The seat was previously occupied by Katsuyuki Kawai of the LDP when he was justice minister, but he was charged with buying votes following the 2019 upper house election of his wife, Anri. Both were found guilty and relinquished their seats.

Saito is the Minister of Lands in the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Kishida represents a neighboring district of Hiroshima Prefecture.

The strong united front put in place by the opposition parties resulted in the defeat of a faction leader of the PLD, Nobuteru Ishihara, former secretary general of the PLD and son of the former governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara.

He lost in Tokyo’s No.8 District to Harumi Yoshida of the main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. But Nobuteru Ishihara had to retain a seat in the Lower House as he was also included in the PLD’s proportional representation constituency in the Tokyo bloc.

Yoshida won the support of other opposition parties, such as the Japanese Communist Party and Reiwa Shinsengumi, in the one-on-one battle with Ishihara.

A similar contest to Shikoku also led to the defeat of a former Cabinet minister.

Takuya Hirai, the minister of state in charge of digitization under Kishida’s predecessor Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, before his resignation in September, lost in Kagawa District No.1 to CDP’s Junya Ogawa.

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