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Abe, Okada to “take responsibility” for LDP, DP Upper House election results

At the party leaders’ debate held at the Japan National Press Club on June 21, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Democratic Party (DP) leader Katsuya Okada both indicated that they will take responsibility if their parties fail to win the target number of seats in the House of Councillors election. However, it is reckoned that this is unlikely to develop into an issue requiring either of them to resign after the election.

 

Abe stressed that the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) target of 61 seats won by the two ruling parties, which is a majority of the total seats being contested, is by no means an easy one, compared to the target set for the Upper House election during the first Abe cabinet in 2007 of 37. He stated that as the party president, he will naturally have to take responsibility for the election results. It appears that he was trying to discourage the thinking that it will not be difficult to win 61 seats, since the cabinet support rating is solid.

 

Meanwhile, Okada’s goal is not to allow the ruling parties to win 61 seats. He stated at the debate: “I will make my own decision on my resignation, but I do take full responsibility for this election.”

 

Certain DP members lament the fact that the party is not setting its own target number of seats. However, according to a senior DP official, it is reckoned that the party will not lose to an extent comparable to the 2013 Upper House election, where the DP’s predecessor, the Democratic Party of Japan suffered a crushing defeat, reducing its number of seats to 17. Therefore, even if the DP is not able to prevent the ruling parties from winning more than 61 seats, it is fully possible that Okada will be able to keep his job if the DP wins considerably more seats than 17.

 

A LDP source predicts that “a dramatic development leading to the replacement of the party leader is unlikely to occur either in the LDP or the DP.” (Slightly abridged)

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