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Party chiefs take to the streets for Tokyo race

JIJI

Party leaders and other figures took to Tokyo’s streets Sunday to drum up voter support ahead of the June 23 metropolitan assembly election, which is shaping up as a crucial contest.

The metro assembly poll is widely regarded as a prelude to the July 21 House of Councilors election. Official campaigning kicked off Friday.

Shigeru Ishiba, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, which leads the ruling coalition at the national level, stressed, “We will revive Japan, beginning with Tokyo.”

The LDP suffered a setback in the July 2009 Tokyo assembly election. It was then crushed in the House of Representatives election in August the same year, losing power after more than 50 years of almost uninterrupted rule as a result.

With this apparently in mind, Ishiba told passersby in Setagaya Ward that “The LDP is now sincere, humble and honest.”

In Adachi Ward, Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of New Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, asked for support in both the metro assembly and Upper House polls. “The ruling coalition must win the Upper House election to stabilize politics,” he said.

Banri Kaieda, chief of the Democratic Party of Japan, visited Higashimurayama in western Tokyo and underscored his resolve to rebuild the DPJ. He slammed the “Abenomics” plan of LDP Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying, “Is it really intended to protect our lives?”

The DPJ won by a landslide in the 2009 Lower House election to take the reins of government for the first time ever, only to be ousted by the LDP in a crushing defeat in the Lower House election last December.

Toru Hashimoto, co-leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and mayor of Osaka, said in the western Tokyo suburb of Tama: “The LDP would return to what it was before if it wins big in both the Tokyo assembly and Upper House elections.”

In front of JR Meguro Station, Yoshimi Watanabe, leader of Your Party, said the major political forces in the metropolitan assembly have been unable to carry out reforms.

Kazuo Shii, head of the Japanese Communist Party, said in front of JR Takadanobaba Station that the party is resolved to fight against the LDP for as many seats as possible.