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Japan: Abe Shinzo’s Conservative Party Takes Decisive Win in Election 3 Days After Assassination

 

Japanese voters turned out in large numbers Sunday to help the nation’s conservative, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and a junior coalition party win enough seats to forge a two-thirds majority in the Upper House chamber of Japan’s national legislature, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Monday. The newspaper noted that former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo had campaigned for such a victory by the LDP in recent weeks and was delivering a pro-LDP stump speech at the time of his tragic assassination on Friday.

“The LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito were on course to win at least a combined 70 of the 125 seats contested, ensuring a majority for the two parties,” the Japanese newspaper observed on July 11. Komeito is another conservative political party in Japan.

“Voters cast their ballots in higher numbers compared with three years ago for the July 10 Upper House election held just two days after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated,” the Asahi Shimbun reported separately on July 10.

 

“The number of ballots cast early prior to election day hit 19,613,956, a record in an election for the upper chamber of the Diet [Japanese national legislature],” according to the newspaper.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was fatally shot on the morning of Friday, July 8 in Nara, Japan, while delivering a speech in support of the LDP two days ahead of the national election, which was held on July 10. Abe was shot from behind as he stood in a street in front of Nara’s railway station.

Police arrested a suspect in Abe’s murder moments after he was gunned down on July 8. Authorities have identified the suspect as Yamagami Tetsuya, 41. The Nara resident reportedly confessed to shooting Abe. Yamagami allegedly told police that he originally intended to kill an unidentified “religious” leader before ultimately choosing to shoot Abe, according to unverified reports by Japanese newspapers on July 9.

LDP leaders organized a ceremony to oversee Japan’s national legislature election results on July 10. Despite their victory in the poll, LDP heads maintained a somber demeanor throughout the vote count out of respect for Abe, who served as LDP president concurrently during his service as Japanese prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020.

The Asahi Shimbun detailed the mournful event on Sunday, writing:

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, LDP Vice President Taro Aso and other key executives observed a moment of silence for the slain lawmaker [Abe Shinzo], who served longer than any leader in the nation’s history.

After observing the ritual of paying respects, Kishida proceeded with the traditional practice of placing flowers on a large board for those LDP candidates projected to win a seat. […]

Toshimitsu Motegi, the LDP secretary-general, pledged to those assembled that the party would carry on the legacy that Abe left. That, he added, included constitutional revision, a goal Abe desperately tried to achieve during his nearly nine years in office.

Abe was delivering a stump speech for LDP member Sato Kei — who was running for reelection as an Upper House member for the Nara constituency — when he was assassinated on July 8 in Nara. Sato won reelection to Japan’s Upper House on July 10. The legislator honored Abe’s support of him by visiting the site of the politician’s assassination on July 11.

 

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