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Suga to seek reelection as party leader despite LDP setback in Yokohama

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japantoday– Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Monday he regrets the defeat of his close aide Hachiro Okonogi in the previous day’s Yokohama mayoral election.

Suga backed the former public safety chief, who got support from some members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in the Sunday election but opposition-backed Takeharu Yamanaka won the race to take charge of the port city near Tokyo.

“It is very regrettable. The people made their decision, and I would like to humbly accept the outcome,” said Suga.

While the election highlighted falling support for Suga’s government amid public frustration over its response to the coronavirus pandemic, Suga reiterated his intention to seek reelection as LDP president.

“There is no change in my view that it is natural I run in the election when the time comes,” he told reporters.

Asked about the possibility of his government’s coronavirus response affecting the local election results, Suga only said, “What’s most important is to do my all in preventing the rapid spread of the infections and help restore the normal life we had.”

Suga’s term as LDP president expires on Sept 30, and the party is expected to hold a presidential election the same month.

A general election is also looming as the term of the House of Representatives members runs out on Oct 21.