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The LDP Political SHOCK: Defeat in Chiba

July 6, 2009

Background: The ruling party of Japan and the party of Prime Minister Aso, the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party), is showing signs of cracking. A usual LDP stronghold, Chiba Prefecture, today announced that the recommended candidate from the LDP and Komeito coalition lost a preliminary election for governor. This paves this way for the opposition party, the DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan), to take the governor’s seat.

This election comes in the background of the bigger national snap election, which the Prime Minister could announce at any time. The snap election can be called in the Japanese parliamentary system by the Prime Minister to redistribute power, ideally to his own party. However the signs lately are showing the opposition party gaining, and the Prime Minister losing. The papers this morning each reported something different about the LDP’s losing popularity.

Asahi “We have come from behind. This shows our real strength.” The Asahi used this quote from the Prime Minister as their headline. This confused me enough to go back and read the article a couple times, to make sure that the Chiba Governorship was actually lost by the LDP. It then made me realize the Asahi’s being sarcastic by putting this quote first, as obviously a loss in a strong hold such as Chiba is not a good sign for the LDP.

The Asahi then listed an interview with the Prime Minister with tough questions and answers. “In light of the LDP losing the election for governor in Chiba, what kind of opinion do you now have about delaying the snap election?”  The PM responded “As usual, I will call the snap election as soon as I see fit.” “So your thoughts on it haven’t changed at all?” “No.”

Yomiuri “The LDP/ Komeito SHOCK” The Yomiuri headline read:” Loss in Chiba Governorship…LDP / Komeito SHOCK…A Quicker Snap Election becomes difficult…” The Yomiuri points out that the loss in Chiba is not the only recent shock to the LDP, as Shizuoka recently also fell to the DPJ. Despite the background of this the Yomiuri reports the Prime Minister’s words as “It was unfortunate, but national elections are different than local elections.”

The Yomiuri reported that the main opposition leader, Hatoyama, is calling for Prime Minister Aso to conduct the snap election as soon as possible. “The Prime Minister must act in accordance with public opinion” stated Hatoyama.

Nikkei “The Prime Minister’s Approval Rating Drops to 21%” The Nikkei’s opinion poll revealed that the Prime Minister’s approval rating dropped 4 points from June to 21%. His disapproval rating jumped 7 points to 72%.

The support for the opposition party, in contrast, has been going up since January of this year, and now stands at 37%.

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