• Kyodo


Former Saitama Gov. Kiyoshi Ueda defeated the leader of a minor opposition party in a House of Councilors by-election Sunday in Saitama Prefecture, winning a seat in the upper chamber for the first time.

While the ruling Liberal Democratic Party did not field its own candidate in the race for the electoral district, voter turnout was low at 20.81 percent.

It was also the first election of a national representative since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government raised the consumption tax by 2 points, to 10 percent, on Oct. 1.

Ueda, 71, defeated Takashi Tachibana, 52, leader of NHK Kara Kokumin o Mamoru To (The Party to Protect the People from NHK), who called for lowering the consumption tax rate to 5 percent.

Ueda, an independent who served as Saitama governor for 16 years, had the backing of local chapters of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Democratic Party for the People.

Ueda and Tachibana were vying to fill the vacancy left by Motohiro Ono, who was elected Saitama governor in August.

In the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Hagibis, which hit Saitama and other areas of the island of Honshu this month, early voting failed to gain momentum. Some polling stations were temporarily closed due to the disaster.

During roughly two weeks of campaigning, Ueda sought to woo voters by placing his focus on regional revitalization. He is in favor of amending the Constitution, a position also held by the LDP and Abe.

A former employee of NHK, or Japan Broadcasting Corp., Tachibana has pushed for abolition of the current mandatory payment of subscription fees to the public broadcaster and called for the introduction of a pay-per-view system for its programs.

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