All national papers wrote that the results of the Yokohama mayoral race may trigger a major political crisis for the Suga administration as the prime minister’s grip on power is bound to further weaken since he failed to deliver a victory for a close political ally even in his home constituency. The defeat of Okonogi was the latest in a series of major election setbacks that the administration has suffered, including three parliamentary by-elections in April and the Tokyo metropolitan assembly race in July. As such, calls are likely to mount among LDP politicians, younger ones especially, for ousting the beleaguered leader ahead of the general election based on the assessment that their reelection bids would be in peril as long as the unpopular prime minister heads the ruling party.
Yomiuri speculated that the premier is still trying to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election, not in September as previously hoped for, but in early October by securing his reelection as LDP president uncontested in late September based on the assessment that the coronavirus situation will improve dramatically by then as the vaccine rollout proceeds apace. Although former Prime Minister Abe, Deputy Prime Minister Aso, and LDP Secretary General Nikai are apparently committed to supporting Suga’s second term as LDP leader, some LDP lawmakers may press former Foreign Minister Kishida to challenge the prime minister in the leadership race. Sankei claimed that Kishida is inclined to throw his hat into the ring.