THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
October 26, 2021 at 17:05 JST
From left: Mizuho Fukushima of the Social Democratic Party, Kazuo Shii of the Japanese Communist Party, Yukio Edano of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Taro Yamamoto of Reiwa Shinsengumi on Sept. 8 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
The opposition camp is losing steam in the Lower House election despite its unprecedented strategy of fielding unified candidates in most of the electoral districts, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
The cooperation by five opposition parties has so far had a limited impact in reversing the tide favorable to the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.
Although most respondents in the survey are not enamored of the ruling coalition’s candidates or their parties, the opposition bloc has largely failed to convince these voters that its candidates are the “better option,” the survey, conducted on Oct. 23-24, showed.
The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Democratic Party for the People, Reiwa Shinsengumi and the Social Democratic Party collaborated to field only one candidate each in the single-seat districts to avoid dispersing votes among supporters of the opposition camp.
It was the first such undertaking by those parties in a Lower House election.
Those unified candidates are battling in 217, or 75 percent, of the 289 electoral districts. And they appear to be struggling in a majority of the races.
LDP candidates have the upper hand in 108 of the 217 electoral districts, while opposition candidate are ahead in 26 of them.
For 145 districts, the LDP and the opposition bloc are effectively fighting one-on-one battles. Only 18 opposition candidates are leading in these races, while LDP contenders have the clear edge in 78 districts, the survey showed.
In 71 districts, the races are currently too close to call. The opposition bloc is represented by candidates from the CDP in 64 of the 71 districts.
In the 2017 Lower House election, the opposition bloc was fractured, leading to electoral districts crowded with opposition candidates.
The LDP won that election in a landslide.
The five parties agreed to cooperate for this election to avoid a repeat.
Although hopes were initially high among the opposition, the survey showed that the effort has not generated the intended result so far.
The survey found that 55 percent of voters do not have high expectations for those running in the election but will choose who they think is the better option.
Only 37 percent of respondents said they will vote for a candidate or party based on their high expectations for them.
For the proportional representation segment of the election, 40 percent of respondents who said they will vote for the LDP said they have high expectations for the party.
Fifty-seven percent said the LDP seems to be the best option.
Forty-five percent of CDP supporters said they have high expectations for the party, while 52 percent said the party appears better than the others.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents who will vote for Komeito, 52 percent of those who will pick the JCP and 59 percent of voters for Nippon Ishin said they have high expectations for the parties.
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