An opposition-backed candidate won a by-election in Japan's Kagoshima Prefecture on Sunday, ahead of the country's general election slated to be held by next summer.
Media reports say Kazuaki Miyaji. of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party was the winner in the race for a seat in the Lower House, left vacant after the death of late Financial Services Minister Tadahiro Matsushita last month.
Trailing behind Miyaji by a close margin was Takashi Noma of the People's New Party, a coalition member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.
Analysts view Sunday's election result as an important barometer for the current Yoshihiko Noda government.