All Monday papers reported on the results of Sunday’s House of Councillors by-elections in Yamaguchi and Shizuoka. In Yamaguchi, the LDP’s former Parliamentary Vice Trade and Industry Minister Kitamura Tsuneo won by a large margin, but in Shizuoka, Yamazaki Shinnosuke, an independent candidate backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) and the Democratic Party for the People, won a close race against Wakabayashi Yohei of the LDP.
The papers wrote that the LDP candidate’s defeat in Shizuoka will deal a blow to the LDP and Prime Minister Kishida because the two by-elections were the first national contests since Kishida became LDP president and were seen as a bellwether for the Lower House election next Sunday. The LDP was expected to win both seats. The papers wrote that the opposition’s victory in Shizuoka will likely give it a boost. The LDP is reportedly becoming increasing concerned that the launch of the Kishida administration may not give a sufficient push to LDP candidates despite the premier’s messages on stronger measures against COVID-19 and a “new form of capitalism” that will put the country on a growth track while redistributing wealth.
According to a Yomiuri exit poll conducted on Sunday in Shizuoka, while 80% of LDP supporters voted for the LDP candidate, about 20% voted for his opposition rival. However, about 90% of CDPJ supporters cast votes for the party candidate. Among non-affiliated voters, 70% voted for the CDPJ candidate, while 20% voted for the LDP one.