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Campaign for vacant Upper House seats begins in Nagano and Hiroshima

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The campaign for vacant House of Councilors seats began Thursday in Nagano and Hiroshima prefectures, with the results likely to affect the leadership of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his plan to call a general election to be held. by fall.

A by-election for the Nagano Prefecture Upper House District and a repeat election for the Hiroshima Prefecture constituency – both scheduled for April 25 – will be the first national ballots since Suga took office in September of last year.

The two competitions will effectively be pitted between the candidates of the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party of Suga and his ally Komeito, and those supported by the opposition parties.

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Political analysts see the polls as a prelude to a general election Suga could call before his term expires on September 30 as PLD chairman and therefore prime minister. The four-year term of members of the House of Representatives will expire on October 21.

Another by-election for a one-seat district of the Lower House in Hokkaido will also be held on April 25, with the campaign starting next Tuesday.

The race in Hokkaido will be contested among opposition-backed candidates after the LDP waives a candidate.

With scandals involving LDP-era lawmakers behind two of the elections, the main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, is seeking to make it the center of campaigns.

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The LDP, for its part, hopes to defend its ground in Hiroshima, known as a conservative stronghold.

Nagano’s election is taking place as outgoing MP Yuichiro Hata, a CDPJ lawmaker who served as Minister of Lands, died in December after being infected with the new coronavirus.

LDP candidate Yutaka Komatsu, backed by the Komeito party, is running against CDPJ candidate Jiro Hata, the younger brother of Yuichiro Hata, who is also supported by other opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party.

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Resume election in Hiroshima comes as Anri Kawai, wife of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai, lost her seat after court found her guilty of buying votes in the election in the 2019 upper house and that his electoral victory was overturned.

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LDP candidate Hidenori Nishita, former head of the Ministry of Commerce, faces Haruko Miyaguchi, supported by the CDPJ, the People’s Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party.

Hokkaido’s by-election was called when former agriculture minister Takamori Yoshikawa resigned as lawmaker after being indicted for receiving bribes from a representative of a farmer. eggs.

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