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POLITICS

Weeklies predict the outcome of the Lower House election

  • August 15, 2021
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 21
  • JMH Translation

By Shinoda Hiroyuki, Editor in Chief of the monthly “Tsukuru”

 

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide may have thought that the Olympics would give him a boost to win in the Lower House election, but the reality is different. The Cabinet approval rate has plunged. The weeklies Shukan Asahi and Shukan Bunshun featured articles predicting the outcome of the Lower House election to be held this fall.

 

The Aug. 20 and 27 double issue of the Shukan Asahi headlines the article “Prime Minister Suga’s ‘COVID-19 self-destruction’ will result in 63 seats lost.” Political journalist Kakutani Koichi and election planner Matsuda Kaoru each predicted winners and losers in all districts. Their predictions could be summarized as follows:

 

“Kakutani and Matsuda both predict huge losses for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Kakutani predicts a loss of 41 seats, while Matsuda predicts a loss of 63 seats. They predicted a surprising outcome, that the LDP lose its sole majority.” Kakutani further commented that “the LDP may lose even more seats if the opposition parties win in closely contested districts.” The outcome hinges on whether the opposition parties can create a scheme of jointly supporting candidates.”

 

Shukan Bunshun’s Aug. 12 and 19 double issue features the article “Predictions of the Lower House election in all 289 districts.” The article concludes that “the LDP will lose its sole majority, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) will not gain many seats, and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Ishin) will gain three times its current number of seats.” Political Publicity System Research Institute Director Kubota Masashi, who made the prediction, comments that “the number of LDP seats will decrease from 276 to 230, a loss of 46 seats. The LDP will lose its sole majority. Amid discontent for COVID-19 measures, Suga will lose support among LDP supporters.”

 

On the opposition parties, Kubota comments that “the opposition parties’ efforts to field joint candidates have not proceeded smoothly. If they can succeed in fielding more joint candidates, they may be able to gain more seats.”

 

Predictions of the results of the Lower House election depend on the predictor’s view of the current political landscape. The Aug. 16 and 23 double issue of AERA features a conversation between Ikegami Akira and Sato Masaru entitled “The post-Olympics shakedown.”

 

In the conversation, Sato says: “The current Suga administration has grown weaker in absolute terms. However, politics in general have grown weaker. The opposition parties have become far weaker than the administration, so it looks like the administration is relatively stronger.”

 

Sato’s comment is confusing at first. Sato’s point is that the Suga administration carries a certain paradox–that “it does not have many supporters, but keeps going.”

 

How the administration, or politics, turns out remains to be seen.

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