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DPJ to field only one candidate in Upper House race in Tokyo

Kyodo

The Democratic Party of Japan will field only one candidate in the Tokyo constituency for the July 21 House of Councilors election, revoking its endorsement of another candidate due to the unlikelihood of securing two seats in the capital.

DPJ leader Banri Kaieda told reporters Tuesday night that the party made a “difficult decision” to field only Kan Suzuki, 49, based on surveys conducted after the DPJ’s crushing defeat in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election on June 23.

Masako Okawara, 60, who lost the DPJ’s endorsement, told a news conference Tuesday night that she will run as an independent. Official campaigning for the race will start Thursday.

Both Suzuki and Okawara are incumbent Upper House members. Five seats will be up for grabs in the Tokyo electoral district.

The DPJ had asked Okawara, who had a slimmer chance of winning election than Suzuki according to the surveys, to run under the proportional representation system. But she rejected that offer.

Kaieda said Okawara is “free to run” as an independent. Okawara said she will not leave the DPJ.