|The political relevance of the Upper House election, 2013|
[Photo] Sento Imperial Palace In Kyoto
In the Upper House election held on July 21, 2013, the LDP and its coalition, New Komeito, won a landslide victory taking a combined 76 of the 121 seats in the 242-member chamber. As a result, the ruling coalition parties secured a majority both in the Lower and the Upper Houses. Recently, Japan policy has suffered from a twisted Diet making many people desire political stability, which led to the LDP and New Komeito win.
Political stability has resulted in a positive effect to Japanese economy and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to overcome long time deflation of the economy through "Abenomics".
Furthermore, Mr. Abe is eager to revise the Constitution, especially article 9, which includes a change of interpretation by the Government to give the Self Defense Force a larger military role. However, Natsuo Yamaguchi, the New Komeito leader, clearly opposes the interpretation change of article 9. The LDP has a majority in the Lower House but not in the Upper House. Therefore the importance of the New Komeito will become larger.
There are many difficult agendas that the Abe administration has to face, such as raising the consumption tax from 5% to 8%, the TPP, and reconstruction efforts from the Great East Japan earthquake. It will be better for Mr. Abe to set aside his nationalistic agenda.
For other election results, the DPJ was crushed and the Japan Restoration Party couldn't expand their seats due to its co-leader Mr. Hashimoto's gaffes on Japan's wartime "comfort women" system. On the other hand, the Japan Communist Party expanded to some extent because low voter turnouts often work in favor for organized party and "Abenomics" can't be beneficial to some people.
To conclude, no one knows what may happen tomorrow in politics. The ruling bloc politicians should be prudent in administration management and mind their gaffes.
By Yuzuru Takeuchi