Asia - Pacific

Japan to hold local elections in April

Polls seen as measure of popularity of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 21.03.2019
Japan to hold local elections in April


Japan is readying for nationwide local elections in April, local media reported.  

Campaigning for the polls began Thursday, according to the Japan Today website.  

The first round of the “unified elections”, which are held every four years, are scheduled to take place on April 7 and the second round on April 21, it said.  

“The results are expected to impact the House of Councilors election in the summer,” the report said, referring to Japan’s upper house of parliament. 

The April 7 elections will include gubernatorial races in 11 prefectures, mayoral polls in six major cities and assembly elections in 41 prefectures and 17 large cities, The Japan Times reported.

On April 21, Japanese voters will choose mayors and assembly members in Tokyo wards, smaller cities, towns and villages, reported Japan Today. 

The upcoming elections are a test for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito which has “struggled in recent months to improve his cabinet's approval rating as a lack of progress in talks with Russia over a territorial dispute and a faulty labor data scandal has impacted his standing”, the report said. 

“Revitalizing regional economies and stemming population declines are among major issues in the regional elections,” it said on the issues to be raised during campaigning for the polls. 

Both incumbents and new faces have joined the race for gubernatorial positions in 11 prefectures (provinces), six mayoral positions in major cities and assembly elections in 41 prefectures and 17 big cities, said Japan Today.  

“There is no place for complacency. We have to bear in mind that every day counts,” LDP election chief Akira Amari said in a speech in Sapporo. 

“We need as many people as possible to join us to rebuild our society,” Yukio Edano, head of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, told a crowd in the city of Toyohashi.

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