Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party lost at least one of two special elections on Sunday, media said, in a fresh setback for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whose public support has sagged to its lowest since he took office.
(Bloomberg) — Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party lost at least one of two special elections on Sunday, media said, in a fresh setback for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whose public support has sagged to its lowest since he took office.
The LDP lost an upper house seat on the island of Shikoku to opposition candidate Hajime Hirota, according to exit polling by public broadcaster NHK and other media. It was still unclear who had won a lower house seat in the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki. Both constituencies were previously held by the LDP.
While Kishida need not hold a general election until 2025, any further signs of weakness could mean he faces difficulties controlling the powerful factions within his party, and his job as LDP leader could be under threat in a vote less than a year away.
In Nagasaki, the LDP’s Yozo Kaneko, the son of a former agriculture minister, faced off in what NHK said was a very close race against Seiichi Suetsugu of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party.
Soaring Prices Are Turning Voters Against Japan’s Prime Minister
Support for Kishida’s cabinet slumped to 29% from 37% in the previous month in a poll carried out by the Asahi newspaper last weekend, marking the lowest level since he took office two years ago.
Surveys show voters are dissatisfied with the steps he’s taken to shield them from the effects of inflation. Those measures include expanding and extending gasoline subsidies to the end of the year.
On Friday, Kishida announced he’d instructed ruling party executives to consider introducing temporary tax cuts to “return something to the people” after an increase in tax revenues.
(Updates from first paragraph with result for one of the two constituencies.)
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