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A Big Win for Japan’s Ruling Coalition: Main Takeaways

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On July 10, Japan held an election for the House of Councillors (Upper House). While the final results are still being confirmed, a clear winner and a loser have already emerged.

The clear winner of the election on Sunday is the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)-Komeito coalition. Between the two parties, they scored a handsome victory, increasing their seats solidly above the pre-election level.

The biggest loser of the election was the main opposition, the Democratic Party (DP). The number of seats occupied by the DP dropped by double-digits, moving the party farther away from where it can call itself “a credible opposition.” The other opposition parties did not do much better, either. The Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ) lost its incumbent party president in the election, bringing the total number of seats they have in the Upper House to only two.

There are a couple of interesting take-home points from Sunday’s election. One is the opposition parties’ utter failure in connecting with the voters. Their pre-election campaign rhetoric predominantly focused on the implication of the LDP-Komeito ruling coalition winning a two-thirds majority in the Upper House, given Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s inclination to push for constitutional revision, namely the revision of Article 9. But the opposition’s tactics were completely out of sync with the voters.

This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in The Diplomat, on July 12, 2016.

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