Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s ruling bloc April 9 won key gubernatorial elections, with its candidates defeating rivals backed by the leading opposition party in the first round of nationwide local polls.
The victories, such as that of Naomichi Suzuki, the incumbent governor of Hokkaido, may bode well for Kishida and his Liberal Democratic Party amid speculation that he will dissolve the Lower House for a snap election at an early date.
In Oita Prefecture, Kiichiro Sato, supported by the LDP, and Kiyoshi Adachi were in a close battle. Adachi won his parliamentary seat in 2019 with the backing of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. But Sato, a former mayor of the capital city, defeated the former Upper House opposition lawmaker.
The results indicated Kishida’s efforts to prop up his government’s popularity by achieving diplomatic successes helped to some degree, political pundits said. Kishida will host a Group of Seven summit in May in his constituency of Hiroshima.
Kishida, who took office in October 2021, has been exploring the best timing to win a general election, as he is eager to be reelected as leader of the ruling party. The next LDP presidential race is slated to be held in September of next year. (Kyodo)