Sunday’s Upper House election saw two Liberal Democratic Party candidates win in the five-seat Tokyo electoral district for the first time in 27 years, while a Japanese Communist Party candidate regained a seat for the first time in 12 years.
The Democratic Party of Japan, which was soundly trounced, failed to win a single seat in Tokyo, home of party leader Banri Kaieda. Twenty candidates vied for the five seats.
“I have to say we faced very harsh results. I apologize to my supporters,” DPJ member Kan Suzuki told reporters in Shibuya Ward.
Suzuki seemed at a loss for words when asked why he and the DPJ lost.
“I guess my efforts were just not enough,” he said.
The DPJ originally intended to field two candidates — Suzuki and Masako Okawara. But after it became clear that the party was in for trouble after losing big in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election last month, the DPJ decided to endorse only Suzuki.
Okawara, who was dropped just two days before the July 4 campaign kicked off, ran as an independent.
“I can’t believe they did that two days before,” Okawara, 60, grumbled tearfully after losing.
The LDP headquarters meanwhile was jubilating over the wins by its two candidates, a feat unseen since 1986.
Former TV anchorwoman Tamayo Marukawa, 42, celebrated soon after the polls closed at 8 p.m.
“The win is just the beginning of our journey. I am determined to push for economic revitalization,” she pledged in front of supporters.
The other LDP winner was Keizo Takemi, 61, a three-term veteran. His previous seats were won by proportional representation, but this time was his first as a formal Tokyo candidate.
Yoshiko Kira, 30, a rookie fielded by the JCP, said it was a dream come true.
“Regaining a seat has been our dream. I’m truly happy,” she said at her campaign headquarters in Shibuya. “This victory indicates the Japanese people are angry with the current administration. On behalf of the nation’s young people, I’ll make sure their voices will be heard out loud in the Diet.”
Other candidates who won include TV celebrity and actor Taro Yamamoto, 38, who won for the first time.
A vocal critic of nuclear power, Yamamoto stressed that his work had just begun.
New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi was returned, taking the fifth seat.
Candidates from the “third force,” meaning those not backed by the LDP-New Komeito ruling bloc or DPJ, failed to win.
Former Nippon TV anchor Jun Ogura, 55, who ran on the Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) ticket, came up empty-handed.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, the party’s co-leader who sparked a massive public backlash by making a remark that appeared to justify Japan’s wartime use of “comfort women,” Japan’s euphemism for the sex slaves used by its military .
“We just didn’t have time to change the mood,” Ogura complained.
Another first-time candidate, 45-year-old Rowland Kirishima from Your Party, said: “I was just about to overcome my inexperience with public speaking and make myself understood. I wish I had more time to prepare.”