Japan’s PM Kishida denies considering snap election

This file photo was taken on Aug 31 2022. Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo. (PHOTO / AP)

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday he is not thinking about dissolving the lower house of parliament for a snap election, a day after his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won parliamentary by-elections in four of five seats.

"As we have to carry out important policies one by one, I am not thinking of dissolution and a general election for the moment," Kishida told reporters at the prime minister's office.

ALSO READ: Report: Japan PM attack suspect had sued govt on election

There has been speculation that Kishida may have been planning to call an election after the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima next month amid improvement in approval ratings for his cabinet.

On Sunday, the ruling LDP led by Kishida secured four of the five seats up for grabs in parliamentary by-elections, while the opposition Japan Innovation Party won one.

The LDP beat opposition party candidates in three constituencies of the House of Representatives, or the lower house, and one constituency of the House of Councilors, the upper house.

Japan Innovation Party defeated the LDP to newly secure a lower house seat, while the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lost in all three constituencies where it fielded official candidates.  

ALSO READ: Japan PM: No plans to dissolve lower house despite backlash

Separately, with Reuters inputs, the closely watched contests came eight days after Kishida escaped an apparent attack during an outdoor speech for one of the races, an incident that revived memories of the assassination of former premier Shinzo Abe at an election campaign event last July.

Nobuchiyo Kishi, the eldest son of former defense minister Nobuo Kishi, clinched a seat for the lower house of Japan's parliament in southwestern Yamaguchi prefecture, public broadcaster NHK and other media outlets reported.

Also in Yamaguchi, another candidate of Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) secured a lower house seat in the district that used to be held by Abe, the reports said.

Ruling party candidates also won an upper house seat in Oita prefecture on the southwestern island of Kyushu and a lower house seat in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo, NHK said, in what analysts said should have been an easier race for the LDP candidate.

READ MORE: Japan PM eyes snap election before defense budget tax hike

In western Wakayama prefecture, where the apparent attack against Kishida took place, a candidate of the conservative Japan Innovation Party won the remaining lower house seat up for grabs, according to the broadcaster.