The Democratic Party (DP) was eclipsed by the clash between the Tomin First [Tokyoites First] party led by Governor Yuriko Koike and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, winning only five seats, which is two less than it had before the election.
Before this election, several of the DP’s official candidates bolted the party, so it was thought that President Renho would have to take the blame for this situation. However, since the party was able to avoid losing too many seats, moves to “topple” Renho have stopped. Although Jin Matsubara, chair of the party’s Tokyo chapter, plans to resign on July 3, Renho will stay in her post.
Secretary General Yoshihiko Noda commented on the election results in the predawn hours of July 3. He said: “We must fulfill our obligation to expand the party for the next election,” thus denying he had any plans to resign.
In light of its declining party support rating, there had been predictions before the election that the DP would lose all its seats. Since it lost only a couple of seats, “there is now no excuse to topple the president,” according to a party heavyweight.
This powerful party member had been meeting with senior officials of anti-mainstream factions in the party since January and was looking at the right timing to oust Renho because he believed that replacing Renho, who enjoyed very little support, would be indispensable for the next House of Representatives election. He was even thinking of launching a signature campaign to demand that Renho be recalled after the Tokyo assembly election.
However, the LDP was plagued by several scandals during the election campaign, resulting in a slight tailwind for the DP.
On the other hand, many of the party’s official candidates left the party because they didn’t want to run on the DP ticket under Renho. The 18 DP Tokyo assembly members had dwindled to only 7 when the election started. Therefore, the DP cannot also claim it was successful. Matsubara stated at a news conference on the evening of July 2: “We must rebuild the party from scratch.” (Slightly abridged)