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A lackluster victory by the Liberal Democratic Party-backed candidate in a Hokkaido by-election Sunday likely leaves Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the defensive while also showing the need for opposition parties to coordinate better ahead of this summer’s Upper House election, political observers said Monday.

Former Mitsubishi Corp. businessman Yoshiaki Wada, endorsed by the ruling LDP-Komeito coalition, beat opposition-backed single mother Maki Ikeda by just 12,300 votes in a race where the turnout was 57.63 percent.

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