All national dailies on Monday reported on the defeat of the LDP’s candidates in the Lower House by-elections in Okinawa and Osaka on Sunday. The papers wrote that the fact that the LDP lost both by-elections represented a significant setback for the ruling coalition and Prime Minister Abe ahead of the Upper House elections in July.
In Okinawa, anti-base freelance journalist Tomohiro Yara, who received support from opposition parties, beat the LDP’s Aiko Shimajiri, who has served as minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs in the past. Yara will represent Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki’s previous constituency, the No. 3 district, which includes Nago. Yara expressed the view during the election campaign that the FRF construction at Henoko should be suspended, while Shimajiri voiced support for the Henoko plan as a way to remove the danger at Futenma. Asahi surmised that strong opposition to the central government’s determination to proceed with the earth-pouring operations at Henoko was one of the reasons for the LDP’s setback. Yomiuri wrote that the defeat of the LDP candidate reflected the Okinawan people’s strong opposition to the GOJ project to relocate the Futenma base to Henoko.
Meanwhile, the Japan Innovation Party’s Fumitake Fujita won a seat in the No. 12 district in Osaka by beating his rival who was supported by the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito. Abe had traveled to Osaka on Saturday to give a campaign speech for the LDP candidate.
Final voter turnout for the Okinawa and Osaka by-elections was the lowest ever for both constituencies, 43.99% and 47%, respectively, according to local election authorities.