Mainstream media report on results of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections held early July; they say the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito gained overwhelming victory and the Communist Party advanced well, while the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lost severely and the Ishin-no-Kai (the Restoration Party) collapsed. But the view, which focuses mainly on the number of seats obtained, is one-sided. Campaigns for the Upper House election are going on now. A more precise analysis is needed.
LET'S FIGHT FOR CREATING HOPES!
The LDP increased its seats from 39 to 59, holding 36.03% of the total votes cast, which is compared with 25.78% of the last election in 2009. New Komeito has maintained 23 seats, the same number, with an occupying rate of 14.10%, compared with the last time of 13.19%. Meanwhile the DPJ decreased seats from 43 to 15, having 15.23% of the votes, which was 40.79% in 2009.
The Communist Party increased seats from 8 to 17, winning 13.60% of the total votes cast, a surge from the previous 12.55%. The Minna-no-To increased seats to seven from one, obtaining 6.86% of the cast votes. The Ishin-no-Kai reduced seats from three to two in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.
The Minna-to-To and the Ishin-no-Kai did not exist four years ago as political parties. The current seats they own are consequences that some of the assembly members came from the DPJ and the LDP. The DPJ won in the 2009 election 54 seats, including these seats. It is evident that the DPJ has been destructively beaten this time.
Voters did not Change
Let's look at the rest of political parties from a mid-term prospect; it cannot be regarded that they have advanced. As for the LDP, popularity had dropped to the bottom in 2009 and this time it recovered to the level of 2001, growing a little bit. New Komeito has been declining; it did not recover itself this year, which is compared with a fact it had kept 15-18% of the total votes in the elections of 97, 2001 and 2005.
As for the Communist Party, reportedly, which has made a great leap forward, the rate can be compared with that of the 1997 election, 21.33%, and those of the 01 and 05 elections, approximately a little less than 16%. The trend is on declination. It increased seats this time, which partly comes from a confused distribution of candidates of the DPJ, the Minna and the Ishin. The New Socialist Party welcomes the advance of Communist Party. Unfortunately, however, voters did not make a big change in their attitude toward political parties.
Meanwhile, the right wing parties become stronger. The Minna and the Ishin together have won 15.11% of the votes, which is bigger than that of the Communist Party. They stand parallel with the DPJ, though the number of seats counts few, partly because of the controversial comment of Hashimoto, Osaka Mayor and a top leader of the Ishin, and dissolution of cooperation agreement.
If the combined rate is added by the one won by the LDP, the figure goes up to 51.14%, which means over a half of voters cast their ballots in favor of the rightwing parties.
The Metropolitan Assembly elections resulted in a high abstention rate, which is the second highest since 1945. The fact indicates serious distrust among voters toward politics. Support of rightwing parties is profound. The trend is similar to what we saw during the last year's Tokyo Governor's election when Mr. Inose Naoki, a successor of ex-Governor Ishihara Shintaro, who is one of Co-Chairmen of the Ishin, won an extraordinary triumph.
Candidate Yamamoto Taro
A trial to field a common candidate timely for the Tokyo election district of the Upper House election ended in vain, though during the Governor's election a common candidate of many political groups, Utsunomiya Kenji, ran, with slogans in favor of the Constitution and against nuclear power development.
As for Candidate Yamamoto Taro, who has run for the Upper House election in the Tokyo district, many political forces support him in cooperation; the Social Democratic Party, the Seikatu, the New Socialist Party and the Greens as well as local assembly members not belonging to a political party and civic groups. How will work this group of various forces in the election? Will it contribute to changing politics in Tokyo where a rightwing trend is strengthened?
The LDP continues to impact massively on the Upper House election. The rightwing parties probably recover influences.
Concerned people worry about situations to emerge after the Upper House elections; a policy package of the Abe government will be bankrupted and consequences will hit people's livelihood. Reoperation at the nuclear plants will begin and a new military base in Okinawa will be constructed with the government's force. Taking advantage the weakened DPJ, the coming administration will reorganize the political scene in order to revise the Constitution.
The New Socialist Party work hard to bring victory to candidates who oppose nuclear power and defend the Constitution in the Tokyo and Okinawa election districts as well as candidates of the Social Democratic Party. Let's create hopes in the society to break through the deadlock.
July 9, 2013