Tokyo: A coalition of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s party retained a majority in parliamentary elections on Sunday. Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and coalition partner Komito won 274 seats in the 465-member lower house, according to public broadcaster NHK. However, 40 seats are yet to be decided. After his victory, Kishida said that
He will make full use of his astonishingly strong electoral victory in nation-building. This also includes passing an additional budget to give impetus to the economy sluggish by the Corona epidemic.
According to the NHK, the LDP has also secured a single majority of 247 seats, while Komito has got 27 seats. The combined seats of the coalition parties exceeded a majority of 233, but winning less than the former’s 305 seats could affect Kishida’s long-term hold on power. The coalition has also crossed the number of 261, which is necessary to control parliamentary committees and pass laws.
Kishida, 64, who was elected prime minister on October 4 after winning the leadership race in his ruling party, dissolved the lower house 10 days after taking office. The exit polls were more or less in line with the media’s estimates. The campaign largely focused on measures to deal with Kovid-19 and steps to bring the economy back on track.
The former banker and soft-spoken Kishida have drawn attention to the party’s traditional right-wing policies. He has insisted on increasing military spending to counter the already more assertive China. Kishida will create a new cabinet position aimed at dealing with the economic dimensions of Japan’s national security, appointing Takayuki Kobayashi, 46, who is relatively new to parliament. Kishida supports close cooperation between Japan and the United States and partnerships with other like-minded countries in Asia and Europe.
One of its objectives is to counter China and nuclear-armed North Korea. Kishida is likely to deliver his policy speech later this week before the lower house of parliament is dissolved ahead of a general election in mid-November.
The new leader will be under pressure to improve the party’s image, which has reportedly been tarnished under Suga’s leadership. There was a public outcry against Suga over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his persistence in holding the Olympics in Tokyo. The conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) needs to garner public support quickly ahead of elections to the lower house of parliament in the coming two months.