All national papers wrote that the ruling coalition of the LDP and Komeito party scored a major victory in the general election on Sunday by winning 293 seats, down only 12 from the number it held prior to the dissolution of the Lower House on Oct. 14. Although the LDP lost 15 seats in total, it still obtained 261 for an “absolute stable majority.” Prime Minister Kishida told the press early this morning that he had obtained a popular mandate since his goal was to win a majority of seats. The papers said the prime minister succeeded in cementing his power base ahead of the Upper House election next summer.
The papers said, however, that the LDP was not as jubilant as Kishida since several heavyweights such as Secretary General Amari and former Minister for Digital Transformation Hirai failed to win their single-seat constituencies. Amari, who lost in his single-seat district by a margin of 2% but secured a seat in proportional representation, reportedly expressed his intent to step down. This was the first time in LDP history for the ruling party’s second-highest ranking official to lose his or her home constituency. Yomiuri claimed that the embattled secretary general is likely to be replaced. Mainichi said Kishida may tap Policy Research Council Chairperson Takaichi, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato or Foreign Minister Motegi as Amari’s successor. The premier is reportedly expected to hold a press conference this afternoon to comment on the LDP’s election performance, including what he plans to do about Secretary General Amari.
The largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), on the other hand, captured only 96 seats in the election, down 13 from the pre-dissolution level despite its unprecedented election coordination with four other opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), which won 10 seats, 2 fewer than before. Such party veterans as former Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro, former Construction Minister Nakamura Kishiro, and the outspoken Deputy President Tsujimoto Kiyomi lost in their single-seat districts. The papers said calls may mount within the CDPJ for President Edano to resign to take responsibility for the setback.
Meanwhile, the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) captured 41 seats, almost four times more than its pre-dissolution level, to become the second largest opposition party. In addition to delivering victories for all 15 of its candidates in the 19 single-seat districts in Osaka, the party headed by Osaka Governor Matsui garnered strong support in Kanto and elsewhere in proportional representation. As such, the papers said the JIP has transformed itself from a Kansai-based party into a “national party.” Since along with the LDP and Komeito the JIP supports constitutional amendment, the papers said political forces in favor of amending the nation’s supreme law now control more than two-thirds of the lower chamber.