Tokyo 2009

The large Tokyo Metro Area (encompassing Tokyo and some of its suburbia) held prefectural elections for the 127-seat Metropolitan Assembly today. These Tokyo elections, because of the huge electorate (10 million today) are often seen as a very accurate test of popular support for the government before an imminent general election. The current government in Tokyo is formed by the same parties which form government nationally, the conservative-corrupt Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Buddhist New Komeito Party. The opposition in Tokyo is formed by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), a coalition of former Socialists (moderate), neoliberals, centrist, and LDP dissidents which have little in the way of actual ideology but rather united by an anti-LDP sentiment. Other opposition parties include the Communist Party (JCP), which is actually quite moderate and decent, and the Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDP) which is to the left of the JCP and is the piteous remains of the most radical wing of the old Japanese Socialist Party.

As I said before, these elections are accurate “opinion polls” for the general election. In 1993, the LDP lost its majority in Tokyo which signaled the loss of national power nationally that same year. In 2005, the LDP and New Komeito won a majority in Tokyo, which signaled the coalition’s majority win in the 2005 general election.

DPJ 54 seats (+20)
LDP 38 seats (-10)
New Komeito 23 seats (+1)
Communist Party 8 seats (-5)
Tokyo Seikatsusha 2 seats (-2)
Independents 2 seats (-1)
SDP 0 seats (-1)
LDP-New Komeito 61 seats (-9)

A major defeat for the LDP, but not a massive thumping (no DPJ majority on its own) but still a bag sign for the elections this year. In this election, all the opposition parties have 66 seats and a theoretical majority.

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Posted on July 12, 2009, in Japan, Regional and local elections. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What electoral system is used for prefecture-level elections in Japan? (SNTV lives on?)

  2. There are 127 seats elected in 42 constituencies (23 for Tokyo City boroughs/wards, 18 for suburban ‘villages’ and one for outlying islands). And yes, the constituencies use SNTV.

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