TOKYO, July 24 – While the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito won a majority in the Upper House election, many younger candidates with close ties to the agricultural industry were defeated.
Meanwhile, veteran candidates of the ruling parties well-acquainted with farm policies fared well in the proportional representation segment.
Few candidates of the opposition parties focused on agricultural policies in their campaigns.
LDP’s Yoshimasa Hayashi, former agriculture minister, won his fifth term. Touching on the issue of depopulation in regional areas, Hayashi said: “We have to work on strengthening not only the agriculture sector, but also other industries.”
Ryosuke Kozuki of LDP, a senior member of the Upper House’s Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, was also reelected in an overwhelming vote. “We will implement agricultural policies taking into account farms of different sizes,” he said.
LDP’s Kojiro Takano, parliamentary secretary for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, was elected again after winning over a unified candidate fielded by opposition parties. “I want to make efforts so that funds will be allocated (in the agricultural budget for the next fiscal year) to support (the rural communities) obtain young farmers who can play a leadership role,” Takano said.
In the Akita district, where the deployment of the land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense system became the focus of the election campaign as the area is considered by the government as one of the candidate sites to host the system, Matsuji Nakaizumi, a first-term lawmaker of LDP, was defeated by a candidate jointly fielded by opposition forces. “I criticized the Defense Ministry for failing to properly deal with the issue (of a geographical survey the ministry conducted to assess suitability for the system’s deployment which was later found to be faulty), but my voice didn’t reach the voters,” he said.
In the Shiga district, candidates of both the ruling bloc and the opposition parties were close to the farm industry, and Yukiko Kada, former Shiga governor supported by the opposition force, won the race. “I will convey grassroots voices to the politics which have destroyed agriculture and fisheries, as well as the local infrastructure, through deregulation,” Kada said. LDP’s Takeshi Ninoyu, who lost, said he is sorry he couldn’t win.
Among 32 constituencies in the nation where only one seat was up for election, many of which are in rural districts, 10 seats were won by candidates fielded by opposition forces. But few of them focused on agricultural policies during the election campaign.
In the proportional representation section, Toshio Yamada of LDP, former executive director of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-ZENCHU), won a third term. LDP’s Masao Miyazaki, a former farm ministry official and advisor to the National Federation of Land Improvement Association’s political federation, was elected for the first time.
Daisaku Hiraki of Komeito, former parliamentary secretary for economy, trade and industry who are well-versed in farm policies, was reelected.
Muneo Suzuki, former LDP member who currently heads New Party Daichi, a political group active mainly in Hokkaido, ran on the list of Nippon Ishin no Kai and won a seat with more than 220,000 votes, returning to the Diet for the first time in nine years.
Tomoko Kami, head of Japanese Communist Party’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries department, won her fourth term. Kami, who was the party’s last candidate to win a seat in the election, criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration for paying little attention to family farmers.
“I want to cooperate with other opposition forces to revive the income compensation system for individual farmers,” Kami said.