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Hendren Global Group, Tokyo Election; Xi-Obama Meeting; G8 Summit

July 3, 2013

Japan Elections

 

In the June 23 election for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, all 59 of the Liberal Democratic Party’s candidates won. This is the biggest number of seats the LDP has taken in the past 10 elections for the 127-member chamber, topping the 56 it won in 1977 and 1985. The New Kōmeitō, the LDP’s partner in the ruling coalition at the national level, came in second; it fielded 23 candidates, and as with the LDP, all of them won. The Democratic Party of Japan, which held 43 seats in the assembly before the election, won only 15 this time, falling from top place to fourth, while the Japanese Communist Party took third place, increasing its representation from 8 to 17. The Japan Restoration Party came away with a meager 2 seats.

 

The LDP and Kōmeitō had been expected to score a major victory, but the scale of their win was remarkable. By way of reference, a telephone poll conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun on June 8–10 found 44% supporting the LDP (down from 47% in its May 10–12 poll), 7% favoring the DPJ (unchanged), and 5% each for the JRP and the Kōmeitō. In a multiple-response question about the policy issues they considered important in deciding how they would vote in this July’s election for the House of Councillors (upper house of the National Diet), 86% cited the economy and employment, followed by 84% for social security and 79% for reconstruction from the March 2011 earthquake.

 

Asked to rate Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s economic policies, 59% gave them favorable ratings, while 26% did not favor them. But on the issue of revising Article 96 of the Constitution to ease the path for amendments by allowing them to be approved by simple majorities in each house of the Diet rather than the two-thirds majorities now required (a change that the prime minister has been advocating), just 34% approved, with 51% opposed.

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