Japan Chair Platform: Yes, We Still Kan?
July 27, 2010
Prime Minister Naoto Kan did not enjoy a high approval rating long enough to win the upper house election held on July 11, as the ruling coalition lost its overall majority in the 242-seat chamber. With half of the upper house seats up for election, the biggest opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) gained 13 seats and the newly formed Your Party, which had no seats before this election, gained 10 seats. Both parties received many ballots from independent voters who rooted for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) during last year’s general election but were subsequently disappointed with the DPJ’s 10 months in government. Nevertheless, the election was far short of a resuscitation of the LDP. In fact, the LDP did a lot worse in terms of its share of the proportional representation vote, compared to the last upper house election in 2007 when it suffered a crushing defeat. Furthermore, it is premature to say that Your Party will become a third pole in Japanese politics; the party does not have any history, which would suggest votes of expectation rather than endorsement.