• Kyodo, Jiji

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The Liberal Democratic Party is likely to become the largest force in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election next month, seen as a prelude to a Lower House election to be held this fall, a Kyodo News poll showed Sunday.

Currently, the biggest force is Tomin First no Kai, or the Tokyoites First party, founded by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike. Whether the LDP along with Komeito can prevail over Tomin First is a focus of the July 4 election.

According to a three-day telephone survey conducted from Friday on about 1,000 voters in the nation's capital, 31.8% said they have decided to vote for the LDP or will most likely do so, while Komeito — the LDP's junior coalition ally in parliament — had the support of 14.1%.

The poll found that 12.1% favored Tomin First in the election. The regional party currently holds the most seats with 46 of the chamber's 127 seats.

The LDP and Komeito are the second and largest parties in the metropolitan assembly.

The Japanese Communist Party received support from 13.1%, meaning it and Komeito are gearing toward fighting Tomin First for second spot. The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan had the support of 7.1%.

The outcome remains unpredictable, though, with undecided voters accounting for 58.4%, according to the survey.

On having spectators for the Tokyo Olympics starting in less than a month, 41.7%, or the highest among respondents, said the summer games should be held without spectators, while 29.2% called for canceling or rescheduling the games.

Those who said the policy is reasonable stood at 26.8%.

The respondents were asked about the recent decision of organizers that venues could be filled to 50% of capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 spectators. The organizers, however, left open the possibility of a policy change if the situation of coronavirus infections in Japan worsens.

Even among supporters of the LDP and Komeito, more than half were opposed to having spectators in the global sporting event.

The poll found that 57.5% support Koike, while 34.9% said otherwise. Those who gave a poor evaluation of the metropolitan government's handling of coronavirus measures amounted to 51%, compared to 43.8% who said otherwise.

Among the issues they want the new metropolitan assembly to tackle, COVID-19 measures topped the list, followed by medical care and welfare issues, education and child-rearing, and employment.

The survey covered 1,375 selected households with eligible voters and obtained responses from 1,043 people.

On Sunday, senior officials from political parties took to the streets to seek voter support a week before the July 4 election.

Delivering a speech near Kichijoji Station in western Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato of the ruling LDP called attention to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's efforts to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations, saying, "Perhaps, over 1.2 million coronavirus vaccine shots are being administered daily across the country in reality, with the number way surpassing the target of 1 million (set by the prime minister)."

"That leads to security and safety and becomes a major positive factor for the economy," Kato stressed.

CDP leader Yukio Edano said in a stump speech near Hachioji Station, "Although Japan is one of advanced countries, some coronavirus patients in its capital city had to die without being able to receive proper medical care."

"To stop this, let's change politics from its very foundation," Edano said. "Let's change the politics that has fomented competition and asked for self-responsibility."

Speaking near Ikebukuro Station, Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of Komeito, criticized the JCP for having opposed the third supplementary budget for fiscal 2020, which was designed to finance the country's free coronavirus vaccination program and other measures, saying the party lacks a sense of responsibility.

Meanwhile, JCP chief Kazuo Shii, in a speech near Jiyugaoka Station in central Tokyo, criticized Komeito's failure to touch on the issue of whether Tokyo Olympics should be held amid the pandemic during the party's first speech after the Tokyo assembly election's campaign period started. "Staying silent about such a major issue shows how irresponsible Komeito is," Shii added. The JCP is seeking the cancellation of the Tokyo Games.

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