There are four groups that matter: Your Party (6 House of Representatives members, 8 House of Councillors members.), Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s Japan Restoration Party (5 HORs, 4 HOCs), Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura’s Genzei Nippon (5 HORs, 0 HOCs; literally, Tax Reduction Japan)*, and ex-Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s new friendly acquisition Sunrise Party of Japan (2 HORs, 3 HOCs). They all reflect to varying degrees and in different ways the fears and mistrust building up towards the government around a whole array of issues, present and future. Unlike the established mini-parties, they are competing for more or less the same constituency. This means that they have a choice: cooperate or compete. Lacking game theory expertise, I can only point your attention to the following and ask that you come to your own conclusions.
1. YP and Ishihara both claim metropolitan Tokyo and its near abroad as their strongholds. Think, Crips and Bloods.
2. Ishihara supports nuclear power and the consumption tax hike, the others do not. Think, Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey.
3. Ishihara and Hashimoto are alpha males with massive egos. Think, Shaq and Kobe.
* Good friend Michael Cucek points out that “the DPJ yakuinkai has promised to sit upon…resignation letters [from the two recent defectors from the DPJ to the GN]…until hell freezes over.” This exposes the GN to two risks: potential criminal charges against the two defectors and, less likely, GN itself for misrepresentation under political party law; and political embarrassment over the allocation of the political party subsidies for 2013.