Party Leaders Make Final Push Day Ahead of Vote: Japan Election
(Bloomberg) -- The leaders of Japan’s major parties made their final forays on the campaign trail a day ahead of an election where the focus will be on how much of a hit the ruling party will take.
Polling indicates Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party will lose seats in the election for the powerful lower house and could also fail to keep the single-handed majority it has held in the body for the past nine years.
A fall from the majority status would be a blow for Kishida, but his LDP is expected to retain control of government with its junior coalition partner Komeito, providing enough seats for the group to stay in power. A significant drop for the LDP, however, could weaken the prime minister’s grip, increasing the risk of him being dispatched through the “revolving door” of Japanese politics that claimed six premiers between 2007-2012.
Kishida, who has been in office for less than a month, is scheduled to campaign in the Tokyo area. The leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, Yukio Edano, is set to do the same. The CDP, which has formed a left-leaning alliance with other opposition parties, is not generating the level of interest that could lead to a change in government, surveys have shown.
The election winner will have to work on helping an economy that likely shrank over the summer due to a Covid surge and supply bottlenecks, according to estimates by several economists. Another setback could put pressure on the government, when the new parliament is expected to convene in November, to compile a bigger stimulus package to support growth. Kishida has pledged to draw up measures worth tens of trillions of yen soon after the vote.
One day to go to the Oct. 31 vote that determines if Kishida can keep enough seats to maintain the outright majority the LDP has held since 2012. When parliament was dissolved for the election, the LDP held 276 seats. If the party slips below the 233 simple majority in the 465-seat lower house, it’s expected to stay in power with the help of Komeito, which held 29 seats.
- Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled the country for all but about four of the last 66 years
- Komeito, which has been in coalition with the LDP most of the time since 1999. Backed by a Buddhist group, it boasts a powerful machine to turn out the vote
- Constitutional Democratic Party, which holds about 75% of the opposition seats. It’s trying to build its numbers with pledges to raise the minimum wage and show it can be trusted to run the government again after its predecessor was sent packing in 2012 following a series of policy U-turns
Other opposition parties include the Japan Communist Party, which held 12 seats in the lower house; Ishin, a metro-based group with 11 seats; and the Democratic Party of the People with 10. Independents held 10 seats and there were four vacancies.
Key stories and developments:
- Trader Anxiety Rises Before Japan’s National Vote: Taking Stock
- Affluent Tokyo Suburb Shows Why Japan’s Opposition Can’t Keep Up
- Failure of Trickle-Down Abenomics Is Top Issue for Japan Voters
- Cash, Covid and China Weigh on Japan Parties Ahead of Election
- Kuroda Plays Down Risk of Global Inflation Fears Hitting Japan
- Japan’s Kishida Suffers By-Election Setback Before National Vote
- Japan’s Ruling Party on Course for Majority, Kyodo Poll Says
- Japan PM Kishida Says to Take Oil Price Support Measures: Jiji
- Japan LDP Projected to Win Single-Party Majority: Asahi Survey
- Kyodo Poll Shows 29% Plan to Vote for LDP in Japan Election
Polls published by the Yomiuri and Nikkei newspapers on Friday found the LDP was at risk of losing its outright majority. Komeito is likely to keep its 29 seats or slightly more, the Nikkei said.
A separate poll published by NHK on Monday found 48% of respondents said they supported Kishida’s cabinet and 59% said they approved of the government’s handling of the coronavirus, as cases and deaths dwindle rapidly.
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