An Upper House vote in Hiroshima on April 25, one of three by-elections taking place that day, has turned into a crucial race for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the ruling coalition.

A vote-buying scandal that forced the resignation of the previous representative, Anri Kawai, has rocked the local political establishment and sparked voter anger, putting the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito on the defensive and giving the opposition hopes of victory.

Kawai was found guilty in January of vote-buying in the 2019 Upper House election and resigned her seat in early February. Her husband, Katsuyuki Kawai, a Lower House member who also represents a Hiroshima district, is a former justice minister who has been charged in the vote-buying scandal as well. After arguing he was innocent, he admitted in late March that he had attempted to buy votes in the 2019 election for his wife.