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“Yoshimura factor” boosts Nippon Ishin image, public opinion polls

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, who is also the deputy representative of Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), is in the spotlight for the unique responses he has taken to tackle the novel coronavirus, and Nippon Ishin is gaining popularity as a result. In May public opinion polls, Nippon Ishin had the highest support rate of any opposition party for the second consecutive month. It is setting itself apart from the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), whose main characteristic is criticizing the administration.

 

In the public opinion poll jointly conducted on May 9–10 by Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network, 7.4% of respondents supported Ishin, up 2.2 percentage points from the April poll. Support for Ishin was higher than that for the CDPJ (5.9%), making Ishin the top opposition party for the second month in a row. Ishin leaders say, “It is the impact of Yoshimura without a doubt. We want to see it continue.”

 

Yoshimura has introduced unique measures in Osaka Prefecture for combating coronavirus clusters and put forward the “Osaka model,” criteria for lifting the request for business closure. He also stood out for debating with economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura over the exit strategy from the emergency declaration.

 

Looking at the recent Sankei-FNN poll by geographical area, Ishin enjoyed a high support rate not only in the Kinki region (46.4%), its home base, but also in the Tokai region (11.9%), Tokyo (11.5%), and other large metropolitan areas. More than half of Ishin supporters said that they do not support the Abe administration, suggesting that Ishin is becoming a haven for those critical of the government.

 

On May 12, Ishin Diet Affairs Committee chair Takashi Endo met with his Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito counterparts and proposed using reserve funds to support financially strapped students. Ishin has also set some distance between itself and other opposition parties in its response to the bill to revise the Public Prosecutor’s Office Act, which is in the spotlight with the extension of the tenure of the chief prosecutor of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office.

 

In contrast, the CDPJ has not been able to build public support as it has not made a standout contribution to the handling of the new coronavirus. At a press briefing on May 12, CDPJ Secretary-General Tetsuro Fukuyama said, “There is no point in becoming elated or deflated over the party support rate. It looks like the people’s approval of Yoshimura has resulted in an increase in support for Ishin.”

 

Political party support rates in May public opinion polls

 

Nippon Ishin

CDPJ

Sankei-FNN poll

7.4%

(+ 2.2 percentage points)

5.9%

(+ 2.2 percentage points)

Kyodo News poll

8.7

(+ 3.4)

6.9

(- 0.8)

Nikkei-TV Tokyo poll

7

(+ 4)

5

(- 3)

Yomiuri poll

4

(+ 2)

4

(- 1)

JNN poll

3.7

(+ 0.4)

6.1

(+ 1.1)

Note: Figures in parentheses are change from April poll.

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