National

Former Niigata Gov. Izumida to run on LDP ticket in Lower House by-election

Kyodo

Former Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida said Friday he intends to run with Liberal Democratic Party backing in next month’s by-election to represent the Niigata No. 5 district in the Lower House.

Izumida told senior local LDP members of his intention to run for the seat, according to sources close to the matter. He also posted the announcement on his blog and Twitter account.

Izumida has voiced concern about restarting the idled reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata, prompting opposition to his run from members of the LDP’s prefectural chapter.

The by-election on Oct. 22 is to fill the House of Representatives seat vacated by the death of LDP lawmaker Tadayoshi Nagashima.

By-elections will also be held that day in Lower House constituencies in Aomori and Ehime prefectures. These by-elections are viewed as a critical test by the LDP and other parties after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his Cabinet in early August in response to its plunge in the opinion polls.

Izumida, 54, who hails from Kamo, worked in the trade ministry before his successful run for governor in 2004. He served three terms over 12 years.

Japanese Communist Party member Hiroshi Nishizawa, 37, has declared he will run in the Niigata by-election, and the Democratic Party, the main opposition force, is also expected to field a candidate.

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