All Sunday papers gave front- and inside-page play to a press conference on Saturday by DP President Okada, during which he said he will not seek reelection in the party presidential election in September. Okada said he has already accomplished most of what he set out to achieve as party president, including a merger with the Japan Innovation Party and election cooperation with the JCP and two other opposition parties. Okada expressed hope that his successor will continue to deepen election and policy coordination with other opposition parties.
The dailies said many DP politicians, including conservative-minded officials who have called for Okada to step down to take responsibility for the party’s dismal performance in the July Upper House election, were upset by Okada’s abrupt announcement on the eve of the Tokyo gubernatorial election. The dailies speculated that Okada chose to disclose his plan to step down ahead of the gubernatorial race in order to prevent the results of the election from having a direct impact on the largest opposition party’s plan to continue collaborating with the Japanese Communist Party.