February 28, 2023
TOKYO – The Liberal Democratic Party’s Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters after the party’s congress on Sunday that the results of by-elections for the upper and lower houses will directly affect Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration and that “the true value of the administration will be tested.”
House of Representatives by-elections are planned in four constituencies: Chiba No. 5, Wakayama No. 1 and Yamaguchi Nos. 2 and 4. These constituencies favor the LDP, with a strong conservative base and opposition party candidates in disarray, but there are also some uncertainties.
Nevertheless, the LDP is poised to win all four of these constituencies, and even a single defeat could lead to a decline in the prime minister’s influence within the party. Shigeru Ishiba, former secretary general of the LDP, told reporters on Sunday that “the LDP must not lose even one of the seats it held.”
The by-election to the House of Councillors for the Oita constituency, which is expected to be held at the same time as the lower house by-elections, is also a source of concern. The LDP is planning to hold an open call for candidates, but the search seems likely to be a difficult one.
By-elections are not nationwide, but they can still affect the course of the government. Within the LDP, some believe that if the results are not favorable, Kishida will be less likely to dissolve the House of Representatives before the end of the year. The previous administration of Yoshihide Suga suffered successive defeats in by-elections and runoffs, sapping its strength and contributing to his being forced to step down after about a year.