Japan is holding local elections today, which can be used to measure the strength of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative coalition at the head of the government ahead of the elections to renew the parliamentary upper house in July.
Today the governors of eleven prefectures (including some of weight like Osaka and Kanagawa) are elected at the polls, six mayorships (including the city of Osaka, third of the country) and also the composition of regional assemblies in 41 of the 47 prefectures of the country and municipal assemblies in 17 cities.
The result of these elections can serve as barometers for the push of Abe and his conservative Liberal Democrat Party (PLD) in rural areas affected by depopulation in which the economic reform program of the prime minister, in power since 2012 , has managed to have less effect.
In addition, today's elections come two days after a deputy minister of Infrastructure resigned after saying that priority had been given to reform a highway that passes through the electoral districts in which Abe himself and the deputy prime minister, Taro, concur as parliamentarians Aso, to please both of them.
It is the latest in a series of power abuse scandals that have plagued Abe and the PLD in recent years, which have so far remained unscathed at the polls.
Japan celebrates another round of local elections on April 21, in which, among others, mayors will be elected for the districts of Tokyo, the largest city in the country, and the regional assembly of the Japanese capital will also be renewed.