Japan Must Put Virus Fix Before Election, Coalition Leader Says

Japan Must Put Virus Fix Before Election, Coalition Leader Says

Japanese ruling coalition party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said voters don’t want an early election and are keen for the new government to tackle the economic and social fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Yamaguchi’s comments in an interview Wednesday come as some in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Liberal Democratic Party have called for a swift vote to take advantage of the high support rates he has garnered since taking office Sept. 16. The new premier himself has said he wants to get some work on policy implementation done before calling an election, which doesn’t need to be held until about a year from now.

“What is it the people want more than anything? It’s for the coronavirus infection to come under control. They want us to bring social and economic activity back to normal,” said Yamaguchi, who was this month selected without opposition for a seventh straight two-year term as leader of Komeito. “The trend in opinion polls shows people don’t want a political vacuum.”

Backed by a lay Buddhist group, Komeito provides vital local support for the ruling LDP in elections. The party’s focus on practical issues chimes with Suga’s agenda, which includes cutting mobile phone charges and providing insurance coverage for fertility treatment.