The vote on Sunday is important for the House of Commons elections that need to be held before October.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, voters in the Japanese capital Tokyo are voting for the city council elections dominated by concerns about health risks during the Olympics.
The vote on Sunday has little effect on the Olympic Games that will open three weeks later, but it is important as a weather vane for the House of Commons elections that need to be held before October.
Analysts said that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s party chairman’s term will expire at the end of September, and the strong performance of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Tokyo polls may help him be re-elected.
Considering the Liberal Democratic Party’s majority in Parliament, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party will almost certainly become the prime minister.
According to a recent survey by Yomiuri Shimbun, 23% of respondents said they would vote for the Liberal Democratic Party candidate, compared with 17% and 8% of the Tokyo Citizen First Party and the Japanese Communist Party, respectively.
The Tokyo Citizen First Party, founded by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, is now the largest party in the city council and hopes to host the Olympics without spectators.
Yoshihide Suga has stated that he intends to host a competition, but if he considers it necessary, he will not hesitate to ban the audience.
The Tokyo Olympics, which was delayed for one year due to the virus outbreak, will open on July 23.
Opinion polls show that most people want to further cancel or postpone the game.
Some medical experts warned that this could become a super spreader event of COVID-19 and warned that the number of new cases in Tokyo could surge to thousands. The capital reported 716 new infections on Saturday, the highest level in more than five weeks.
At the same time, only about 10% of the population was vaccinated.
In Sunday’s vote, 271 candidates competed for 127 seats. In this mega city with a population of nearly 14 million, the total number of eligible voters is 9.8 million.
“My focus for this election is pandemic measures,” a 26-year-old hearing impaired freelance actor wrote in a report to a Reuters reporter outside the polling station.
He also asked to remain anonymous.
“I chose a candidate who will take action to save the infected because I am worried that if I get infected, I will lose my job and income,” he said, but declined to reveal the name of the party. “I don’t care about political parties.”
Voting will end at 8pm (11:00 GMT), after which vote counting will begin immediately.