Top Asian News 3:04 a.m. GMT

Japan's ruling party loses all 3 seats in special vote, seen as punishment for corruption scandal

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s governing party, stung by an extensive slush funds scandal, lost all three seats in parliamentary by-elections Sunday in a major setback for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in seeking reelection as his party's leader in the autumn. The loss is considered punishment by voters for the Liberal Democratic Party scandal that erupted last year and has undermined Kishida’s leadership. The party’s loss of power is unlikely, however, because the opposition is fractured. “The results were extremely severe,” LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters. “We humbly accept the severe results, and we will do our utmost to regain the trust from the public as we continue our effort to reform and tackle the challenges.” The liberal-leaning main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan clinched all three seats in Shimane, Nagasaki and Tokyo, according to final vote counts posted on prefectural election committee websites.