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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party unexpectedly lost one of the two House of Councillors by-elections held over the weekend.

  • Shinnosuke Yamazaki, an independent candidate backed by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) and the Democratic Party for the People won a tight race for a seat in the central prefecture of Shizuoka. He defeated LDP's Yohei Wakabayashi, also backed by the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito. Yamazaki won the race even as opposition forces failed to close ranks and the Communist Party fielded its own candidate.
  • An exit poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun showed that Yamazaki attracted much nonpartisan support. He was backed by 69% of voters unaffiliated with any party.
  • Elsewhere, Tsuneo Kitamura of the LDP won a safe seat in Yamaguchi prefecture, a conservative stronghold.
  • The by-elections were called after two members of Japan's upper house stepped down to run for other offices. The contests were closely watched as a bellwether for the October 31 general election and the first electoral test for new Prime Minister and LDP leader Fumio Kishida.