07/25/2022, 14.59
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The 'Trumpian' Sanseito party takes youth votes away from the Liberal Democrats

With its anti-globalisation and anti-immigration stance, Sanseito won 5.9 per cent of the vote among the twentysomethings while support for the Liberal Democratic Party in the same age group dropped below 40 per cent, the first time in years. The new party also wants to boost military spending and change the country’s "pacifist" Constitution.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The Trumpian-inspired Sanseito party has taken votes from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the recent election to the House of Councillors.

The LDP of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida still dominated the vote to elect about half of the members of the upper house of Japan’s parliament, but the party saw its support among younger voters decline.

In its first go at an election, Sanseito won 1.8 million votes and took one seat. Led by Ayako Lawrence, the party has a very conservative political platform that includes opposition to globalisation and immigration, and support for a revision of the country’s pacifist constitution, higher defence spending, and preservation of national "dignity".

For many observers, the party’s platform is the Japanese version of the "America first" campaign that brought Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, based on a message that seems to have struck a chord among some young Japanese, after the loss of Shinzo Abe, the nationalist former prime minister assassinated on the eve of the vote.

Among voters in their 20s, Sanseito won 5.9 per cent of the vote. In this age group, the Liberal Democrats lost 3.5 per cent and dropped below 40 per cent, which Abe exceeded after he returned to power in 2012.

Komeito, a Buddhist-oriented party, in government with the LDP, also lost younger voters, as did Japan’s main opposition parties, the Constitutional Democratic Party and the Communist Party.

Many young people opted instead for Democratic Party for the People and Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), two other parties with rising fortunes. Still, the youth vote seems, however, to be moving more in Sanseito’s direction.

According to analysts quoted by Nikkei Asia, young Japanese are attracted above all by two elements in the ultraconservative party's electoral programme, namely higher defence spending and a cut in the consumption tax.

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