All national papers wrote that President Edano of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan will probably decide today to step down to take responsibility for the party’s dismal performance in the general election. As Secretary General Fukuyama has already expressed his intent to resign and Acting President Hirano and Vice President Tsujimoto both lost their reelection bids, the papers speculated that the largest opposition group may have to put together a completely new leadership lineup. The papers said calls are growing among the party’s lawmakers for the leadership to resign en masse, with one of them telling Yomiuri: “There is no choice but to appoint a new leadership since the party suffered a humiliating setback. Edano should step down voluntarily.”
The dailies said distrust of the leadership soared within the party following the election loss, as it became clear that its strong push for unprecedented election cooperation with the Japanese Communist Party and other smaller opposition groups backfired by alienating some party loyalists. Only 59 of the 213 candidates that the five opposition parties fielded as unified competitors in single-seat districts prevailed. Although the CDPJ delivered victories in 57 single-seat constituencies, up 9 from the number it held prior to the dissolution of the Lower House on Oct. 14, it only won 39 seats in the proportional representation segment, 23 fewer than before. As the Democratic Party for the People, which is close to the CDPJ and yet refused to join hands with the JCP in most single-seat districts, increased its seats from 8 to 11, Asahi said many CDPJ members are voicing concern that the party will suffer another setback in the Upper House election next summer unless Edano steps down now. They are calling for a “generational change” in the party leadership, with some calling for Policy Research Committee Chairman Izumi Kenta or Lower House member Ogawa Junya from Kagawa Prefecture to seek the party presidency.