Tokyo, Apr 10 (EFE).- Japan’s ruling party led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has won several key local elections held over the weekend, the results released on Monday revealed.
Voters cast their ballots in Sunday’s polls to elect the governors of nine prefectures, mayors of six major cities and assembly members of 41 prefectures and 17 cities. These elections are held every four years.
The governor of the northern Hokkaido prefecture, Naomichi Suzuki, backed by Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner in the central government, the Komeito, managed to keep his seat.
In Oita prefecture in southern Japan, Kiichiro Sato, supported by the LDP, prevailed over Kiyoshi Adachi, of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, after a close battle.
In Kanagawa prefecture, located south of Tokyo and the country’s second most populated, incumbent Yuji Kuroiwa, also backed by the ruling coalition, won a second consecutive term.
However, in the western Osaka prefecture, the LDP was unable to seize the governorship from Hirofumi Yoshimura, of the Japan Innovation Party, a local party that made the leap into national politics in 2015 and is currently the fourth largest in parliament.
In Nara prefecture, LDP-backed Sho Hiraki was defeated by former city mayor Makoto Yamashita, also from the Japan Innovation Party, which has a strong presence in the Kansai region.
Another round of local elections will be held on Apr. 23 to elect mayors and local assembly members of other Japanese municipalities, along with by-elections for five vacant seats in parliament.
The performance of Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party in these local elections serves as a barometer of support for his government, whose public approval ratings fell to a record low at the start of the year – around 26 percent – according to several surveys.
Support for Kishida’s cabinet has improved in recent weeks as a result of the diplomatic activity of the prime minister, who will chair the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May, as well as various initiatives presented by the government, including a plan to boost the country’s birth rate. EFE