Komeito's Deputy Head to Run from Hiroshima Constituency

Politics

Hiroshima, Nov. 19 (Jiji Press)--Tetsuo Saito, deputy leader of Komeito, the coalition partner of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, announced on Thursday his intention to run in the next House of Representatives election from a closely watched constituency in the western prefecture of Hiroshima.

Saito, 68, told a press conference in the city of Hiroshima, the prefecture's capital, that he will stand in the next poll for the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, the country's parliament, from the prefecture's No. 3 constituency. He is now in the ninth term as a Lower House member.

The move triggered a backlash from the LDP's Hiroshima prefectural chapter, which has been publicly seeking a candidate to run in the constituency, after Katsuyuki Kawai left the LDP earlier this year over alleged vote-buying for his wife, Anri, for the July 2019 election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet. Kawai, who is standing trial over the charges, is currently a Lower House lawmaker elected from the constituency.

"People have great distrust in politics, so we must regain trust," Saito said at the press conference, pledging to defend the seat for the ruling coalition. "I'm committed to working on it in the final culmination of my political career." On the local chapter's moves to pick its own candidate, Saito said, "I will try hard to gain understanding."

At Thursday's meeting of its Central Secretariat, Komeito endorsed Saito as the party's official candidate for the No. 3 constituency. Saito won a Lower House seat for the first time in the 1993 election, running from a constituency in the prefecture, and has since been elected to the chamber under the proportional representation system from the Chugoku regional bloc including Hiroshima.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press