Japan PM’s party on track for big defeat in Tokyo election: exit polls

Japan's Prime Minister Abe stands in front of Japan's national flag after his ruling LDP annual party convention in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was on track for a stinging defeat in an election in the Japanese capital on Sunday, exit polls showed, signaling trouble for the Japanese leader, who is suffering from slumping support because of a scandal over suspected favoritism for a friend’s business.

On the surface, the Tokyo Metropolitan assembly election is a referendum on Governor Yuriko Koike’s year in office, but a poor showing for Abe’s party will also be taken as a rebuke of his 4-1/2-year-old administration.

Public broadcaster NHK said Koike’s Tokyo Citizens First party and its allies were on track for between 73 to 85 seats in the 127-seat assembly, while the LDP was forecast to take only between 13 and 39, down from 57 before the poll and possibly its worst showing ever.

(Reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Mark Potter)