The ruling coalition headed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida retained a majority in Japan’s lower house of parliament in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. The official NHK station reported that Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party won at least 249 of the 465 seats. Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, won at least 27 seats, giving the two parties an absolute majority.
At the same time, it turned out that Kishida’s coalition would be short of the 305 seats it won in the previous elections in 2017, although the ruling coalition was expected to lose more seats. This is due to the insufficient fight against the coronavirus and the faltering economy, which took a big hit in 2020 with a 4.8 percent contraction. Kishida’s foreign policy has also been criticized for escalating tensions with China in the East and South China Seas and North Korea’s missile launches.
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The country’s largest opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party, won between 99 and 141 seats, according to the Japan Times. Also remarkable is the advance of Nippon Ishin no Kai: the right-wing conservative party led by Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui is expected to win between 34 and 47 seats, three times what it is now.
The 64-year-old Kishida was elected in early October as the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, the party that has been in power in Japan almost continuously since the mid-1950s. He also succeeded former Defense and Foreign Minister Yoshihide Suga, 72, as prime minister. Suga was forced to leave the stadium after just over a year after criticism of his handling of the coronavirus crisis and dissatisfaction with the Olympics continuing amid the pandemic. Suga succeeded Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving Prime Minister in Japan’s history (2012-2020) who unexpectedly resigned due to health issues. Next year there will be elections in Japan again, then the Senate will vote.
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