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CDPJ Chief Edano under fire within party for election results

  • July 26, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 8:00 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, July 26 (Jiji Press)–Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano is facing pressure from colleagues in the party to take responsibility for its weaker-than-anticipated performance in the House of Councillors election last Sunday. 


In the triennial Upper House poll, in which 124 seats, or about half of all seats on the chamber, were up for grabs, the main opposition party won 17 seats. Nine of its pre-election seats were contested.


“Thanks to great efforts by everyone, we nearly doubled our seats,” Edano emphasized at a meeting of party executives on Thursday. “We have to work even harder so that voters choose a change of government in the next election for the House of Representatives,” the all-important lower chamber.


Some media reports had suggested that the CDPJ could gain 20 or more seats. It failed to win a seat in the Kyoto and Osaka prefectural constituencies in western Japan, falling behind the Japanese Communist Party, a smaller opposition party.


Under the proportional representation system, the CDPJ secured eight seats, but the other 14 people on its candidate list were unsuccessful, including a former member of all-girl pop group “Morning Musume.”


One reason for the CDPJ’s poorer-than-expected election showing is believed to be that some voters critical of the current administration, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, head of the Liberal Democratic Party, opted to vote for Reiwa Shinsengumi, a new group launched by actor-turned-politician Taro Yamamoto.


The new political group attracted voters by presenting clear-cut policies including the abolition of the consumption tax, rather than the CDPJ-advocated cancellation of a planned hike in the rate of the tax this October.


“The tailwind we received (after the CDPJ was launched) about two years ago has gone away,” a source in the party lamented.


“Media reports say the CDPJ advanced in the Upper House poll, but my feeling is that we lost in effect,” Koichi Yamauchi, the party’s deputy policy head, said in a blog post.


“We need to squarely face the reality that we are far from taking power and to hold serious discussions within the party,” he claimed, urging the party leadership to review the CDPJ’s election strategy promptly.


In particular, the Edano-led leadership’s decision to field a candidate against a senior Democratic Party for the People member put up in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, drew criticism from CDPJ members.


The CDPJ, the DPFP and two other opposition parties cooperated in many electoral districts in the Upper House poll.

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