Bill on unified local elections OK’d

The government and the ruling coalition approved a bill Wednesday that would set April 13 as the date for next year’s elections for prefectural governors and assembly members, along with mayors of major cities and their assembly members. Elections for mayors of smaller municipalities and their assembly members would be held April 27.

The submission of the bill, which was proposed by the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry, was approved by the government and the ruling coalition, which comprises the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party.

The government has already decided to hold a by-election in Ibaraki Prefecture on April 27 to fill the seat vacated by the Oct. 17 death of LDP lawmaker Koichi Kuno, a member of the House of Councilors.

It would be the first time for unified local elections and a by-election for the Upper House to be held on the same day.

Gubernatorial elections will be held in Hokkaido, Iwate, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Fukui, Mie, Tottori, Shimane, Fukuoka, Saga and Oita prefectures, while elections for prefectural assembly members will be held in every prefecture except Ibaraki, Tokyo and Okinawa.