A mysterious victory
“There are mysterious victories in winning.
The words of Katsuya Nomura, the famous professional baseball general, are now spreading in the Liberal Democratic Party.
Although the LDP won 261 seats in the House of Representatives, more than enough for a single-seat majority (233), in the super-short-lived election held by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, an analysis of each constituency shows that there is no strong support for the LDP and that the party’s strength is waning. Only one month has passed since the election of the party president. With many believing that the Cabinet’s approval rating will not rise any further, some young LDP members are already saying, “If Mr. Kishida remains at the top, we will not be able to compete in next summer’s Upper House election.
“We have received a very valuable vote of confidence in this election to choose a new administration.
On the night of October 31, LDP President Kishida showed a mixed expression, relieved to have maintained his party’s single-seat majority, but also as if he had been bitten by a bitter bug. 4 years ago, the LDP won a crushing defeat in the lower house election, gaining 284 seats. At one point, there were predictions that the LDP could lose its majority in the House of Representatives, but this time, the LDP lost 23 seats to 261, and some observers believe that the party “managed to hold its ground.
Indeed, looking at the number of seats won alone, it seems that there is no need to be so gloomy about the fact that the LDP secured an “absolute stable majority” of 261 seats, which would allow it to appoint the chairpersons of all standing committees and have a majority of the members.
The question, however, is what will happen. A reporter from the political section of a national newspaper said, “It’s not that we lost the election, but there is a heavy atmosphere in the LDP. It’s no wonder, then, that the LDP’s performance is even worse than the seats it won. Many constituencies grabbed thin-skinned victories in very close races, winning more seats than they really felt. The fact that the opposition coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Communist Party (CPC) was not very effective is also significant,” he explains.
Four years ago, the LDP won 218 constituencies. Four years ago, the LDP won 218 constituencies, but this time the number has fallen to 189. The effect of the opposition parties’ joint struggle was less than expected, and while the Constitutional Democratic Party, the number one opposition party, suffered a disastrous defeat (96 seats), a number of LDP candidates were defeated in closely contested constituencies. According to an exit poll conducted by the Nippon Television Network Corporation (NNN), the CDP garnered the highest proportional support from independents (23.6%), while the LDP came in second (21.2%). Nearly 10% of the LDP’s supporters went to the Japan Restoration Association, while about 7% voted for the Constitutional Democratic Party.
There is no doubt that the LDP’s winning pattern, which has been supported by a solid base of support, especially among conservative voters, and which has won successive elections by grabbing large numbers of independents, is wavering. Big names such as Takuya Hirai, former minister in charge of digital affairs, Taketsugu Wakamiya, minister of the World Exposition, and Yoshitaka Sakurada, former minister of the Olympic Games, were defeated in their respective constituencies, and former cabinet ministers such as Tsuyoshi Noda, former minister of local government, Yoshiaki Harada, former minister of the environment, and Kozo Yamamoto, former minister of regional development, who were trying to win the election for the 17th time, failed. The election of former secretary general Nobuaki Ishihara, who led a small faction called the Near Future Politics Research Association, was received with shock within the LDP.
“The LDP has come under severe criticism. We have to change the LDP.
Shigeru Ishiba, former secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, has made it clear that a post-election review is needed, and there are no signs that this will stop for the time being as people question the responsibility of President Kishida and his executive committee. Complaints are also swirling over the slapdash adjustment of accreditation and the ranking of candidates on the proportional list just before the ultra-short campaign.
Kenichi Kawamura, the eldest son of former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, was forced to move from the Chugoku block of proportional representation to the Kita-kanto block after a dispute over his official recognition in Yamaguchi’s 3rd district, and Jinoh Nishikawa, the eldest son of former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Kimiya Nishikawa, who was the sole candidate for the Kita-kanto block when his official recognition was adjusted for Tochigi’s 2nd district, lost his seat. He said, “We were exposed to an ugly situation just before the election when we were battling for official recognition, and we were not in a position to fight with that negative image. The executive board bears a heavy responsibility,” said one vindictive voice.
Akira Amari, the secretary general of Kanagawa’s 13th district, who was in charge of the election, was asked to travel around the country to support each candidate, but he had his hands full with his own campaign, which led to the candidates in the closely contested districts who lost their support to drink tears.
This first defeat as the incumbent secretary general is in sharp contrast to the stability of former secretary general Toshihiro Nikai and former prime minister Yoshihide Suga, who were reported to be “sure to win” immediately after the polls opened at 8 p.m. Kishida, who expressed his concern about Amari’s resignation as secretary general, said, “I will make the final decision.
“The fact that the LDP won only this small number of seats is probably due to the fact that the number of people infected with the new coronavirus has plummeted. The reason why the LDP won only this many seats is that the number of new coronavirus infections has plummeted, thanks to the efforts of former Prime Minister Kan, not those of Prime Ministers Kishida and Amari. If that’s the case, why did you do something so negative as ‘getting rid of Kan’ right before the general election?
A lonely former prime minister
A reporter for a national newspaper in charge of the election said that if the vote had been held while the number of infected people was on the rise, the LDP could have lost its majority.
Kan was forced out of his post by Kishida and others just before the LDP presidential election in September, when he was forced to replace then-Secretary-General Nikai, who was his wife. He was forced out of his post just before the LDP presidential election in September by Kishida and others, who pressed him to replace his wife, then secretary general Nikai, but he was still popular in the lower house election. “However, he was still very popular in the House of Representatives election, and there are many lawmakers who regret that the outcome would have been different if the election had been held under Kan.
Kan has succeeded in vaccinating more people against coronas than the U.S., and so far has been able to control the infection. “While some inside and outside the party are reevaluating Kan’s policies, saying that he is the best in the world at fighting corona, former Prime Minister Kan, wearing a jacket with the words, “I will not waver,” made a strong speech during the general election, as if he was trying to make up for the failure of Kishida’s administration.
“The vaccine works!
As Mr. Amari, who had been the commander-in-chief of economic and security policy, the pillar of the “new capitalism,” loses his influence, what course will Mr. Kishida, who is seen as the “face of the election,” pursue?
Reporting and writing： Kenichi Ogura
Director, Ithmose Institute
Photo: AFLO： AFLO