07/11/2022, 14.40
JAPAN
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Liberal Democratic Party unsurprisingly wins Japan election

by Guido Alberto Casanova

The 8 July attack produced no "Abe effect”. Voter turnout was 52 per cent. With a substantial majority, the LDP will be free to set the coming legislative agenda. Police are still looking into the killer's motive, apparently connected to his mother's ties to the Unification Church.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The election to Japan’s upper house ended with no surprise following the victory of the ruling coalition composed of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito.

Half of the 248 seats in the House of Councillors were up for grabs for the next six years. The other half was elected three years ago and will be renewed in 2025.

Voting took place just two days after the attack that resulted in the death of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, one of Japan’s most prominent and influential politicians.

Thanks to its success, the LDP increased its number of seats. The ruling LDP-Komeito coalition now has 145 seats and firm control over Japan’s National Diet (parliament).

The LDP added eight seats for a total 119, near an absolute majority on its own. For the next three years, the conservative-leaning government will have ample room to set the legislative agenda.

The divided opposition fared badly, each party running its own candidates, thus splitting the anti-LDP vote. Under a predominantly majoritarian electoral system, this does not pay.

The main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP), lost several seats dropping to 49. Contrary to some public opinion polls, the Japan Innovation Party[*] (JIP) to overtake the CDP.

In last year's general election, the JIP had managed to achieve very good results, breaking out of its traditional regional base in Osaka. This year, it failed to repeat its success and did not double its seats as some polls had predicted.

In short, little has changed in the existing balance of power. The low turnout in the lacklustre election campaign favoured the status quo and the LDP.

Food for thought: Turnout saw about 52.16 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot, up from 48.8 per cent three years ago. Despite appeals to vote, there was no significant “Abe effect” following the attack on Friday.

Since then, media attention has focused on Tetsuya Yamagami, the man who killed the former prime minister.

After early confusing and contradictory statements, police have centred their investigation on possible links between Abe's murder and his ties to a religious movement called the Unification Church.

The cult was founded in South Korea in the 1950s and is closely associated with conservative movements worldwide; although there is no evidence that Abe joined the movement, he did take part in some of its conventions.

Yamagami's family found themselves in dire straits after the mother made large donations to the sect, which prompted the gunman to take his revenge by shooting Abe.


[*] Nippon Ishin no Kai fail.

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