Sunday’s elections shook up the composition of the Upper House, with the Liberal Democratic Party losing heavily, especially in urban districts where multiple seats were up for grabs.
Two women running in Tokyo — one of the most heavily contested constituencies — beat out 19 other candidates vying for four seats up for grabs Sunday.
But reflecting the setback faced by the LDP throughout the nation, LDP incumbent Kiyoko Ono lost a bid for her third term.
Victory fell into the lap of incumbent Toshiko Hamayotsu, head of Komei, and Miyo Inoue, who ran on the Japanese Communist Party ticket.
Both parties made solid gains nationwide.
The battle between the three female candidates had been one of the highlights of the Tokyo campaign.
The remaining two seats in Tokyo went to Atsuo Nakamura, an actor and TV celebrity who ran as an independent, and Toshio Ogawa, a lawyer on the Democratic Party of Japan ticket.
It was the second time Nakamura, 58, had run in an Upper House race.
In Okayama, Satsuki Eda of the DPJ beat Junji Ichii, a fellow party candidate, to win one of the two Upper House seats in the prefecture’s electoral district, election officials said Sunday.
The other seat in the Okayama district went to LDP candidate Norifumi Kato.
Eda, a former director general of the Science and Technology Agency, was competing with incumbent Ichii on the same DPJ ticket. Eda was seen as lagging behind Ichii in terms of labor union support.
Eda made up for this disadvantage by making frequent speeches on the streets and holding many small-scale meetings.
Once a member of the Lower House, Eda had unsuccessfully run in gubernatorial elections in Okayama — the home turf of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto — in the fall of 1996.
In Osaka, popular comedian Kiyoshi Nishikawa, 52, held a celebration after winning a third Upper House term. The constituency had three seats being contested.
“I would like to thank those who cast a vote for me from the bottom of my heart,” said Nishikawa, surrounded by his family and campaign staffers at his campaign office in Osaka’s Kita Ward.
Nishikawa promised in his campaign that he will work to build a society where both the elderly and the disabled can live without anxiety about their future.
“Serving as an independent Diet member for 12 years, I have carried out what I promised in my election campaigns. I think I was able to win this election because voters recognized my tasks as being important,” said Nishikawa, whose face was sunburned from campaigning. “I would like to continue to listen to voices of the minority.”
Naoki Tanaka, formerly a Lower House lawmaker and son-in-law of the late former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, secured an Upper House seat from Niigata Prefecture, which has been a Tanaka stronghold for decades.
His wife, Makiko, the late prime minister’s daughter, is a member of the Lower House.
Meanwhile, Susumu Yanase, also a former member of the Lower House who ran under New Party Sakigake, secured a seat from Tochigi Prefecture.
Yanase, who served as parliamentary vice minister for the Construction Ministry, this time ran on the DPJ ticket.
“Members of the DPJ are putting up a good fight all across the nation — let’s mark today as the start of a new Japan,” he told supporters gathered at his campaign headquarters.
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