The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) is putting great effort into local elections. Its leader Yukio Edano and other leading party officials campaigned hard for the Feb. 25 Machida City assembly election in Tokyo, resulting in the impressive victory of the two candidates it fielded. This party is consolidating its local support base, eyeing the simultaneous local elections and the House of Councillors election next year.
The CDPJ is focusing on local elections in its effort to strengthen local organizations that will serve as the party’s support base. As of Feb. 26, it has a total of 124 local assembly members in 14 prefectures (including those soon to take up their positions) and local organizations in 17 prefectures. This is in sharp contrast with the Party of Hope, which does not have any local assembly members, and the Democratic Party (DP), whose assembly members in Tokyo have been reduced by around 40% in the past six months.
The CDPJ adopts the strategy of narrowing down the candidates the party supports based on the thinking that “even losing a single seat can easily undermine the party’s momentum,” according to a senior official. It only supported one candidate in the Hino City assembly election in Tokyo on Feb. 18, helping him become the most successful candidate.
A majority of local assembly members in Tokyo who left the DP have joined the CDPJ. A senior party official says that demonstrating the party’s ability to help candidates win impressive victories “will motivate members of other parties to join the CDPJ.” (Abridged)