Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday the situation appears "extremely tough" for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming general election this weekend and called for public support following the party's loss Sunday in one of two by-elections.

The by-election defeat in Shizuoka Prefecture dealt a blow to Kishida, the LDP leader whose Cabinet approval rate is relatively low for a newly launched Cabinet. The LDP won in Yamaguchi Prefecture, a conservative stronghold.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets the press in Tokyo on Oct. 25, 2021, a day after his Liberal Democratic Party lost one of two House of Councillors by-elections just a week before a general election. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Kishida on Twitter expressed his resolve to fight it out toward the House of Representatives election which he described as "an election that we certainly cannot lose in order to execute policies amid a national crisis."

He vowed to listen to the voices of the people in the remaining five days of election campaigning.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Kishida said while the party won people's confidence in Yamaguchi, it saw a disappointing result in Shizuoka.

"I would like to solemnly accept the judgment of people" in Shizuoka Prefecture," he said.

The by-elections for vacant seats in the House of Councillors or the upper chamber of parliament were the first contests for Diet seats since Kishida took office on Oct. 4, replacing his unpopular predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, and were closely watched as a bellwether for the general election.

Yukio Edano, leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said many in the opposition camp were encouraged by the Shizuoka outcome.

"It showed the people's distrust and discontent with the government is very big even after its front cover changed," Edano said.

Kenji Eda, acting leader of the CDPJ, attributed swing voters' support for the win in Shizuoka by Shinnosuke Yamazaki, an independent the CDPJ backed with another opposition party, in a close race against Yohei Wakabayashi of the LDP.

"This will give us a boost going into the lower house election. Prime Minister Kishida will not be the face of the election," Eda said.

Kishida did not mention the by-elections when he gave stump speeches in Osaka Prefecture for candidates in the upcoming election.

Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People, released a statement Sunday evening saying the win by the opposition-backed candidate in Shizuoka gives courage to candidates backed by opposition parties ahead of the general election.

The other race in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan was won by former parliamentary vice industry minister Tsuneo Kitamura, who defeated the Japanese Communist Party's Kiyo Kawai, a former prefectural assembly member, and Shota Harada, more widely known as YouTuber Hezumaryu.

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