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Independent candidate Etsuko Kawada, 51, a longtime supporter of victims infected with HIV through contaminated blood products, appeared to be leading in the House of Representatives by-election for the Tokyo No. 21 single-seat constituency, exit polls showed Sunday.

The seat was one of two Diet posts being contested Sunday, the first by-election since electoral law revisions enacted earlier this year dictated that by-elections be held only twice annually.

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