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Losses in three special elections for parliamentary seats in a single day last Sunday have left Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in search of a way to quickly boost support or risk joining a long list of short-serving PMs, Bloomberg reports.

Although as Michael Macarthur Bosack notes, none of the losses was that surprising. For now, Suga has two factors in his favor that likely mean he will last as PM through the Olympics, with the success or otherwise of the games likely to play a key role in deciding whether he will lead his party in a general election that now looks almost certain to come in September.

LDP Hiroshima chapter chair and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (right) bows to supporters with LDP candidate Hidenori Nishita (center) after the latter lost an Upper House by-election in Hiroshima on April 25. | KYODO
LDP Hiroshima chapter chair and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (right) bows to supporters with LDP candidate Hidenori Nishita (center) after the latter lost an Upper House by-election in Hiroshima on April 25. | KYODO

Two of the recent by-elections were sparked by scandals in the ruling party. One of those scandals has the potential to come back and bite Suga in the coming months, writes Eric Johnston.

Prosecutors are seeking a four-year prison term for former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai, who has been indicted on a charge of vote-buying aimed at securing a seat for his wife in a 2019 Upper House election.

The trial is set to wrap up this month, but one expert tells Johnston that damaging details could continue to emerge in the lead-up to the poll, particularly considering Suga’s closeness to the affair.

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