The Democratic Party of Japan won more seats than the Liberal Democratic Party in Sunday’s House of Councilors election, marking the first time the LDP was outperformed by an opposition party since 1989, final results show.
The LDP fell shy of its target of winning 51 seats, but the party’s ruling alliance with New Komeito retained a solid majority in the 242-seat Upper House.
Of the 121 seats contested, the LDP won 49 against the 50 captured by the DPJ.
The LDP’s score was the third-lowest for the party in an Upper House election since the party was founded in 1955. It was sharply down from the 64 seats captured in the last Upper House race in 2001, when the LDP rode on the enormous popularity of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi right after his inauguration.
For the DPJ, the result marked a sharp gain from the 38 seats it had up for grabs in the race.
Voter turnout was 56.57 percent in the constituency section of the election, up 0.13 percentage point from the 2001 Upper House election, the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications said Monday.
New Komeito won 11 seats — one more than the 10 it had up for grabs.
Although the LDP-New Komeito alliance combined slightly fell short of a majority in the 121 contested seats Sunday, they retained a comfortable majority of 139 in the 242-seat Upper House, since they together hold 79 seats that were not contested this time.
The Japanese Communist Party had dismal results, winning only four seats — down sharply from the 15 it had up for grabs.
The Social Democratic Party meanwhile retained its two seats that were in contention, including the one secured by party chief Mizuho Fukushima.
In the proportional representation segment of the election, the DPJ topped the LDP and took the largest share, with 19 of the 48 seats up for grabs, while the LDP took 15.