Upper House prediction

I admit, I have been out of commission recently, and with my prep classes for the Securities Dealer Type II exam coming up (plus a bunch of other commitments) it looks to sort of stay that way. Still, I couldn’t stay totally silent on the upcoming election.

Since I haven’t seen anything like it in English yet, I’d like to show you a little chart I made up. It breaks down the seats in the Japanese Diet’s Upper House in terms of party affiliation:

party-breakdown-2007-upper-house.JPG

Now here’s something you can get from news reports (Yomiuri):

If the LDP’s coalition partner, New Komeito, secures 13 seats—the same number of seats it won in the 2001 upper house election—the LDP would need 51 seats to maintain the ruling bloc’s majority. To accomplish its goal, the LDP aims to win 20 prefectural constituencies where one seat is being contested, and 18 seats in multiple-seat contests. “We’ll still reach our goal even if we only win 13 seats in the proportional representation contest,” an LDP source said.

But winning in 20 out of 29 constituencies where one seat is being contested is a high hurdle for the LDP, which is under fire over the pension fiasco.

But what the news reports probably won’t give you is a wildly speculative prediction of the results. I am here to deliver, but I want to add the disclaimer that my prediction, much like all the English-language election coverage, presumes no changes in party affiliation from some existing Upper House members. However, two Diet members have recently defected from opposition parties, and what’s more, many are predicting major party realignment depending on the election results. Anyway, here’s what I think will happen:

  1. Assume (since I don’t have much basis for it) the LDP does worse than expected. The DPJ exceeds its goal and wins 56 seats and the rest of the opposition picks up enough seats to form a coalition with the DPJ to get a majority in the Upper House.

  2. The DPJ coalition will then accuse the LDP coalition that it no longer has the mandate to use its supermajority in the Lower House to push bills through (presumably they will use a highly symbolic bill like the labor law revisions that didn’t make it through this time). The majority in the Upper House will use its power to deliberate any bill sent to it for 60 days as blackmail to try and force Abe to call a snap election.

  3. The snap election is held and while the LDP loses seats, it does not lose enough to fall out of the majority.

  4. At that point, the fissures (both in ideology and political style) that have long been festering within the parties will cause a major 90s-style party realignment, resulting in 1) A Koizumi-led Reaganite party (a pretty hefty group incorporating the likes of his Mori Faction allies and the Koizumi Children who were elected as replacements for anti-postal privatization LDP members and maybe Naoto Kan, who has brought the idea of teaming up to Koizumi before) 2) A center-left DPJ Lite including Hatoyama, more liberal LDP members such as the “non-Abe, non-Aso” group that I talked about earlier; 3) A hardcore right-wing pork barrel party including all of Kokumin Shinto (including a soon-to-be-elected-in-exile Alberto Fujimori), the rest of the LDP (including Abe and Aso, perhaps?); 4) The Communists and Social Democrats, which will stay the same (though SDP might change its name); and finally 5) Komeito, which will wait it out and latch onto whoever winds up on top, since all they care about is providing the stable votes and numbers in exchange for getting their shady pro-Soka Gakkai legislative agenda pushed through (such as excessive privacy protection).

And there you have it. Where do you think the political landscape is heading? One thing I would hate want to see happen is the LDP to lose just enough seats to make it possible to stay in power through bringing the Kokumin Shinto into the coalition. That would really put the nail in the coffin to any pretence the LDP had of trying to continue on a path to leaner government and realistic solutions to Japan’s problems.

15 thoughts on “Upper House prediction

  1. excessive privacy protection…...there is no such thing! As an American member of Soka Gakkai, let me assure you that if world peace (Kosen Rufu) is shady, then guilty as charged.

    If you want to maintain at least an illusion of impartiality, stick to the facts, and avoid disparaging adjectives.

  2. “Excessive privacy protection” is an appropriate and accurate description of the Komeito’s sole political agenda. The party is in coalition with the LDP, but differ with them on the two major political issues—education reform (neutral-oppose) and constitution reform (oppose)—not to mention real hot issues like Yasukuni during Koizumi. So why are they are in league together? To maintain protections for their adherents through what can only be described as excessive privacy protection. Frankly, that’s the nicest way it can be said.

    And while “world peace” isn’t shady, and I have no information on SGI as an organization outside of Japan, inside Japan it has long been shunned by the mainstream Buddhist community for it’s cult characteristics—the biggest example that comes to mind for a blog comment is the near-worship of Chariman Ikeda.

  3. I’ve had some dealings with the international wing of SGI here and they seem innocuous enough. Naturally, the overseas chapters do seem to emphasize the “universal” (anti-nuclear, world peace, pro-UN agenda) aspects of the organisation and leave the domestic agenda to New Komeito.

    Interesting predictions. I’d imagine the DPJ, even if it did have the majority in the Upper House would wimp out and support more sensible LDP bills without the 60 day deliberation out of fear that they will be blamed for a snap election. Remember, voters hate Ozawa almost as much as they hate Abe. Perhaps a victorious DPJ (and some in the LDP) will be happy calling for Abe’s resignation. They get to declare victory if he does so and if he doesn’t, well, they have an election against Abe to contest in two years’ time, which isn’t a bad thing for them.

  4. What ever is happening at the election,we will have Koizumi back in the center stage of the national politics.I’m actually amazed with the man’s luck.

  5. JCP portrayed as crazy by whom?
    All I remember was People’s Daily.calling them running dogs of Moscow…...

  6. Weren’t they the running dogs of Moscow?

    I haven’t heard anyhting about a Koizumi comeback lately. Do you know something I don’t, Ace?

  7. Well,They call themselves independent and that can be confirmed for JCP’s demand for the return of ALL of the Kurils and half of the Sakhalin from USSR.
    CCP tried to plant their follower(and a mole)with in the JCP leadership during the cultural revolution days and didn’t apologize despite of countless demand from Yoyogi after the conspiracy was revealed.Instead they send back the exiled JCP No.2 Ito Ritsu (who was imprisoned in Beijing by the request from Miyamoto,or so says his critics)and start calling JCP and Miyamoto leadership as “Moscow’s dogs”....But I think you know this all,Bryce.

    No,I have no deepthroat within the Nagatacho.But this is what I “heared” over chit chat from the club guys.Anyway you don’t need any crystal balls to say Koizumi is holding the key for post-Abe LDP.I don’t believe in Adamu’s “Koizumi led Reaganite party” shows up any time soon.But It is no secret that Koizumi’s popularity is larger than all of the other post-Abe candidate combined and his “Children” is in desperate need of forming their own fraction.So Elvis mania holds massive political capital his rivals both in and out of party can only dream of.
    The shadow Shogun of the 21st century?Highly unlikely from his personal character,but surprise is Koizumi’s only weapon and he is blackbelt in that practice.

  8. Koizumi was great for Japan’s domestic policy and political reform. His foreign policy was shattered by his visits to Yasukuni. Some say he did it as a bargain to gain support from certain LDP factions, others say he went to mourn the loss of Japanese identity as he knew it in an increasingly changing Japan

    During the Cold War, anything considered communist or socialist was considered evil, especially by the Americans and their backed power structures abroad

    It would be nice to see a Koizumi-type candidate take power to continue his reforms so long as he does not do anything that would reignite regional tensions (or give others opportunities to slam Japan) however you see it.

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