Hiraoka wins

As expected, Prime Minister Fukuda was welcomed back to Japan after his trip to Russia by a DPJ victory in the Yamaguchi-2 by-election.

Hiraoka Hideo defeated the LDP’s Yamamoto Shigetaro by a still unknown margin of victory. Mainichi reports that the turnout rate was 69%, a fall from 2005’s 72.45%.

It’s hard to make any definite conclusions without seeing just how big a victory Mr. Hiroka won, but undoubtedly this will intensify pressure on the government from the LDP, but more importantly, it will likely intensify pressure from within the LDP on Mr. Fukuda. Expect more “post Fukuda” talk in the coming weeks. Additionally, after a rough couple of months, Mr. Ozawa may find himself bolstered within the party and hungrier to press on to a general election.

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