JCP certain to secure highest number of seats since 1998

The Japanese Communist Party made a strong showing in the House of Councillors election Sunday, making it certain to secure the highest number of seats since the upper house election in 1998.

In the Tokyo constituency, a JCP candidate was assured of victory for the first time in 12 years, while two JCP candidates who ran in the Osaka and Kyoto blocs in western Japan were also set to win seats in the upper chamber for the first time since 1998.

"Citizens are concerned that the Liberal Democratic Party will go out of control. It is a crucial step forward for us to take the offensive" against the ruling LDP, Kazuo Shii, who heads the JCP, said at a press conference Sunday night.

Yoshiko Kira, who ran for the JCP in the Tokyo bloc, said her victory "reflects the public anger against the LDP government."

The JCP succeeded in gaining wider support from swing voters by adopting a confrontational approach toward the ruling LDP, which is pushing contentious policies such as resuming operation of idled nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima crisis as well as revising the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the People's Life Party and the Green Wind party were not expected to win any seats in the chamber. The Social Democratic Party is projected to secure a seat under the proportional representation system.