Twenty-eight members of the House of Councilors are expected to retire from politics ahead of the Upper House poll slated for July 29, political sources said.
The members in question include Hisamitsu Sugano, vice president of the Upper House; Wataru Kubo, former deputy prime minister and finance minister; and former Labor Minister Yutaka Okano.
The number of Upper House members choosing not to seek re-election may increase as the poll draws closer, the sources said Tuesday.
Ahead of the previous Upper House election in 1998, 38 members retired from the political arena.
Upper House members serve six-year terms, with half the seats in the chamber contested in each House of Councilors election on an alternating basis.
Among the 28 who are expected to stand down this time are 11 members of the Liberal Democratic Party, five members of the Democratic Party of Japan and four members of New Komeito. Two members of the Japanese Communist Party, including Atsushi Hashimoto, are also expected to stand down. Believed to be joining them are two members of the Social Democratic Party, including Kiyoko Kusakabe; the Liberal Party’s Yoshinori Takahashi; Seiichi Mizuno of Mushozoku no Kai; and independent member Tatsuro Matsumae.
The expected LDP retirees include Okano; Junzo Iwasaki, former chief of the Management and Coordination Agency; former Labor Minister Yoshio Yoshikawa; Michiko Ishii, former chief of the Environment Agency; and Kaname Kamada.
Fifteen of those expected to drop out of the race saw their parties change their names or become new political entities after winning their seats in the 1995 election.
Regarding members of the DPJ, the largest opposition party, Kubo was originally elected as a member of the Social Democratic Party. The other four were elected as members of the now-defunct Shinshinto.
The DPJ was formed in early 1996.
All four of New Komeito’s expected retirees were elected as Shinshinto members in the proportional representation section of the 1995 election.
The four will leave the Diet after serving just one term.
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