By-Election Results Alarm Abe's Ruling Bloc, Hearten Opposition


Tokyo, April 22 (Jiji Press)--The results of two by-elections for Japan's House of Representatives on Sunday amplified a sense of alarm in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition, while giving a boost to opposition parties' confidence in their cooperation for this summer's House of Councillors poll.

Abe told reporters on Monday that the ruling bloc's defeats in the Lower House by-elections, held in the western and southern prefectures of Osaka and Okinawa, respectively, were "regrettable."

"We have to pull our socks up again," said Abe, also president of the Liberal Democratic Party. "We'll return to our original stance of reflecting local voices in polices and make efforts to win the Upper House election for sure."

The by-election defeats indicated a "rebuke from the public against the ruling parties," Tetsuo Saito, secretary-general of Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner, said on Sunday night.

The by-elections came after Abe earlier this month replaced Yoshitaka Sakurada, then minister for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and Ichiro Tsukada, then state minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, over verbal blunders.

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Jiji Press