Japan’s Ruling Party Loses a Special Election in Blow to Kishida

Japan’s Ruling Party Loses a Special Election in Blow to Kishida

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida underscored his plan to return some tax revenues to the public, fund more handouts for those on low incomes and extend energy subsidies in a speech a day after his party lost a special election.

Article content

(Bloomberg) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida underscored his plan to return some tax revenues to the public, fund more handouts for those on low incomes and extend energy subsidies in a speech a day after his party lost a special election.

“By returning part of the extra tax revenue gained through growth, we will ease the burden of rising prices on the people,” he told parliament Monday, adding that he had ordered ruling party officials to consider the details quickly. Subsidies for gasoline, electricity and household gas will be extended to the spring, he added. 

Advertisement 2

Story continues below

Article content

Article content

Kishida’s long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party suffered a decisive defeat in one special election Sunday and barely scraped out a victory in another. 

The outcome was a fresh setback for the prime minister, whose public support has sagged to its lowest since he took office two years ago and complicates his decision on whether to call an early general election. 

Polls show voters are dissatisfied with the measures Kishida has taken so far to shield them from inflation, even as they hold down price growth by more than a percentage point. 

While the prime minister doesn’t need to hold an election until 2025, his unpopularity may mean he struggles to control the powerful factions within his party, and his job as LDP leader could be under threat in a vote less than a year away. 

See also  Retiring U.S. archivist to White House: "You better not hire another white male"

He told reporters ahead of the speech that he wasn’t thinking of calling a general election and would focus on urgent matters. 

In Sunday’s special elections, the LDP lost an upper house seat on the island of Shikoku and kept a lower house seat in the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki. Both constituencies were previously held by the ruling party.

Advertisement 3

Story continues below

Article content

Support for Kishida’s cabinet slumped to 29% from 37% in September in a poll carried out by the Asahi newspaper Oct. 14-15, marking the lowest level since he took office two years ago. A slew of other media polls have also shown his approval at its weakest yet. 

Japan reported Friday that the pace of inflation slid below 3% in September for the first time in more than a year. Even with the easing price pressure, the Bank of Japan will probably revise higher its forecasts for consumer inflation for this year and next when board members gather at the end of the month.

The data showed that the existing gas and electricity subsidies alone helped shave 0.98 percentage point off overall inflation. The government’s gasoline subsidy is an additional factor holding down inflation.

Kishida added that his government would consider the issue of ride-sharing, amid a shortage of drivers, due partly to Japan’s aging population. 

(Updates throughout with policy speech.)

Article content

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

See also  The Crackdown on Crypto
Join the Conversation

This Week in Flyers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *