Prime Minister Kishida delivers a speech at the Asian Security Conference. However, the substance of the speech is not particularly clear.The approval rating of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet, though down, still stands at 56.9% (Kyodo News, June 13), and the mood in the Upper House election in July is one of easy victory for the Liberal Democratic Party. Perhaps because of this complacency, Prime Minister Kishida’s “diplomacy” is flourishing.
“As the Diet session drew to a close, Kishida made a bullet train trip to Singapore. Kishida’s “Kishida Vision” did not do well domestically, but he attended the Asian Security Conference and presented it as the “Kishida Vision for Peace”. Kishida’s reputation for diplomacy is growing. As a political appeal in the run-up to the Upper House election, this diplomacy scored high marks,” said a senior LDP official.
In fact, world leaders from the EU, Asia, the South Pacific, and other countries have asked to meet with Kishida. Moreover, behind the scenes, negotiations are underway for a Japan-China summit with China. A former foreign minister revealed the following.
“Director General Takeo Akiba of the National Security Bureau and Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, talked on the phone for two hours and fifteen minutes. Following that phone conversation, a series of senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited China.
Akiba is seeking a ‘face-to-face summit’ between Prime Minister Kishida and President Xi Jinping to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China.”
“Doing nothing” is the strongest item in the Kishida administration, but he is aggressive when it comes to diplomacy. He will preside over the G7 summit scheduled to be held in Hiroshima, and major diplomatic events will follow without interruption from the Japan-US summit, including APEC (presided over by the US), the G20 (presided over by India), and the Quad (presided over by Australia). However, the content of these events is not so much “saying nothing” as “giving the impression of doing something”.
“In the past few months, the political world has changed from ‘Abe alone’ to ‘Kishida’s warriors’ at a stroke,” said a member of the Diet around Prime Minister Kishida.
Public Discontent Should Be Exploding
It is true that the Kishida administration’s approval rating has been rising steadily, albeit up and down a bit.
“But the people’s dissatisfaction should be exploding. Wages are not rising, and people’s lives are becoming exhausted. Normally, people would be dissatisfied with politics.”
Yet, the government is supported by the people. Reflecting on this situation, the mood is growing stronger by the day that the LDP will be the sole winner in the forthcoming Upper House election.
Opinion polls show that the LDP won 24 seats in single-seat constituencies. In addition, the LDP won 24 seats in single-seat constituencies and all multiple-seat constituencies, and there is a strong possibility that two candidates will be elected in the Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Chiba prefectural elections.
On the other hand, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won one seat in a multi-member district, and is expected to win very few seats in single-member districts.
It should be noted that Komeito, the ruling coalition party, is expected to face a “tough fight” in Kanagawa and Hyogo prefectures.
According to an LDP election campaign official, “The LDP is expected to be in a tight race in the Kanagawa and Hyogo prefectures.
The LDP is expecting to receive nearly 20 million votes, given the high level of support for Kishida. We want to aim for 65 seats in the House of Representatives, up from 54 in the previous round, which we won in 2013.”
Meanwhile, opposition party election officials are somber.
“According to several surveys of the situation in the Upper House election, the Communist Party, which has real power and is unshakable, is not gaining any more momentum. The Rikken, whose relationship with the Coalition has cooled off, is sinking sharply. The Restoration Party is doing reasonably well, although its boom has subsided. Reiwa Shinsengumi, which hit the Tokyo electoral district, has yet to wind down. This would make the LDP the sole winner in terms of organizational strength. However, this is not necessarily the case in the last few national elections, because this survey of the situation has not always been correct. We have no choice but to run as fast as we can toward polling day.”
Opposition parties are unable to clearly define their axis of opposition. In contrast, the administration is avoiding criticism by doing nothing, rather than being confrontational, and is pushing ahead with diplomacy with no time to spare for electioneering. As a result, the LDP has allowed Prime Minister Kishida to run solo, and has started talking about 10 trillion yen for defense spending while leaving the lives of the Japanese people behind. However, most in the political world are predicting that the turnout for this Upper House election will be “the lowest in the postwar period”.
It is clear that lifelines will be plunged into crisis from the end of the election to the end of the year from rising prices of imported petroleum-related products. At this time, will the new capitalism of the Kishida administration be able to protect our lives in a country where “only the people can win”? How can it do so with the lowest voter turnout in its history?