Japanese ruling party loses three seats after mass corruption scandal exposed

Japan’s governing party has lost all three seats in the nation’s parliamentary by-elections, which were held on Sunday for the first time since Japan was rocked by the alleged mass-scale government corruption scandal.

In November, Japan was rocked by the revelation that a slew of Liberal Democratic Party politicians had been using campaign funds and transferring them into untracked slush accounts.

Sunday’s loss may be a grim warning for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the consequences of his party’s involvement, with the Japanese leader hoping for reelection in the spring.

Voters have dubbed the loss a punishment for the Liberal Democratic Party (LPD) scandal, which has eroded public trust and undermined Mr Kishida’s leadership.

However, the party’s loss of power is unlikely because the opposition is fractured.

“The results were extremely severe,” LDP secretary general Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters.

“We humbly accept the severe results, and we will do our utmost to regain the trust of the public as we continue our effort to reform and tackle the challenges.”

The liberal-leaning main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) clinched all three seats in Shimane, Nagasaki, and Tokyo, according to final vote counts posted on prefectural election committee websites.

The LDP previously held all three vacated seats. Because of the party’s apparent low support, it did not field its own candidates in the Tokyo and Nagasaki by-elections.

Instead, it focused instead on defending the seat in the Shimane district that was vacated by the death of former LDP house speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda.

Mr Hosoda was linked to several alleged irregularities apparently related to the slush fund scandal, which is now under formal investigation.

Akiko Kamei, the CDPJ candidate who beat former finance ministry bureaucrat Norimasa Nishikori from the LDP in Shimane, said her victory in the district known as a “conservative kingdom” sent a big message to Mr Kishida.

“I believe the voters’ anger over LDP’s slush funds problem and the lack of improvement in daily lives in the prefecture became support for me,” she said.

CPDJ leader Kenta Izumi said the by-elections were about political reforms.

“There are many voters across the country who also want to show (similar) views,” he said, adding that he will seek early national elections if the governing party’s reforms are too slow.

LDP politicians may try to bring him down to put a new face ahead of the next general election. Such a move would dash Mr Kishida’s hope for running in the party presidential race in September for another three-year term.

As prime minister, he can call a snap election any time before the current term for the lower house expires in October 2025.

Since the corruption scandal erupted last year, Mr Kishida has fought plummeting support ratings.

He has removed several cabinet ministers and others from party executive posts, conducted internal hearings, and drafted reform measures, but support ratings for his government have dwindled to around 20%.

The scandal centres on unreported political funds raised through ticket sales for party events. Ten people, politicians and their aides, were indicted in January.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

No votes yet.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *