All national papers reported extensively on the official start on Tuesday of the general election campaign, saying that the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), and three other opposition parties are cooperating at an unprecedented level in a bid to unseat the ruling coalition of the LDP and Komeito. The dailies said that although the LDP was able to regain public support to some extent following the inauguration of the Kishida administration, some LDP candidates do not feel the political winds are blowing in their favor. Prime Minister Kishida and other top ruling officials are emphasizing that their goal is to win a simple majority of 233 seats, which is far fewer than the 305 seats they held ahead of the dissolution of the Lower House last week, in view of the opposition’s election cooperation and the absence of public enthusiasm about the launch of a new administration. In a bid to boost the standing of its candidates, the LDP is keen to highlight what it is calling “collusion” between the CDPJ and the JCP, insisting that the two main opposition parties have forged a union without embracing common values for the sake of taking over the reins of the government.
The opposition bloc has reportedly succeeded in fielding single opposition candidates in 213 of the 289 single-seat constituencies. Asahi pointed out that the opposition camp could have prevailed in 63 additional single-seat districts if it had fielded unified candidates in the 2017 general election. The daily added that the CDPJ’s decision to cooperate closely with the JCP is a political gambit that may backfire by alienating the conservative voters that the No. 1 opposition party is eager to court for the sake of broadening its support base. Pointing out that public support for the CDPJ was only about 8% in a recent opinion poll compared with 51% for the LDP, Nikkei said the top opposition party’s realistic goal is to win at least 140 of the 465 seats up for grabs, 30 more than it currently holds.