Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is Michiyo Yakushiji the Beginning of the End for the DPJ?

Today’s (March 20) Yomiuri reports that Toru Hashimoto’s Japan Restoration Party (JRP) and Yoshimi Watanabe et al’s Your Party (YP) have agreed to jointly support YP’s Michiyo Yakushiji in the July three-seat, Aichi Prefecture, House of Councillors election. This, if it is the harbinger of a breakthrough in the two parties’ attempts for nationwide coordination, is likely to be remembered as the beginning of the end for the DPJ, which had already been encountering difficulties raising and keeping prospective HoC candidates.

The objective of the mainstream opposition parties (JRP, YP, and DPJ) is to be the runner-up to the LDP. There is room long-term for only one such viable presence. Thus, the DPJ, coming off its rejection by voters in the December House of Representatives election, is standing at the crossroads of the path to revival—and irrelevance (and likely disintegration).The objective of the JRP and YP, in turn, is to not to beat the LDP but to make sure that the DPJ goes the way of the horse and buggy. They also happen to be natural allies policy-wise; they even share the same largely neoliberal advisors (one of whom stood successfully for the JRP in the last election). Their limited HoC presence makes it easier for them to coordinate their candidacies. This is in contrast to the DPJ, which has 28 incumbents in prefectural district seats that will be up for grabs in July. Yakushiji’s joint nomination suggests that the JRP and YP leaderships will be able to set aside their considerable egos to project a joint frontline, with fatal implications for the DPJ as currently configured.


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