Japan 2022 Upper House elections July 10

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2022 July 25th Upper House election

First big electoral test of PM Kishida.

The class of 2016 will be up for election.  The Opposition actually did pretty well in 2016 and LDP and JRP are more likely to make small gains this time around but it will most likely be limited.  The battle for the Upper House since the return of Abe has been about getting and keeping a solid pro-Constitutional reform 2/3 majority which has always eluded the LDP.  In theory, if you count DPP as pro-Constitutional reform then there is already a 2/3 majority in the Upper House for Constitutional reform.  The main problem is what LDP KP JRP and DPP have in mind as Constitutional reform are not the same so in practice, it will be hard to actually get anything done.

Map of 2016 results to the current status of the class of 2016
                   2016                      Today
LDP                37                         36
KP                   7                           7
pro-LDP Ind                                  3
JRP                  3                           3
DP                 21                                    
DPP                                              3
CDP                                            16
OPPN               4                           4
JCP                  1                           1

3 2016 DP MPs have defected to become pro-LDP independents.  
A DP turned DPP MP resigned to run for governor of  埼玉(Saitama) and was replaced by a pro-DPP independent ​elected in a by-election
A LDP MP resigned to run for governor of 静岡(Shizuoka) and was replaced by a pro-DPP independent elected in a by-election
A DP MP became pro-Opposition independent when CDP and DPP were formed
2 pro-Opposition independents joined CDP and
1 pro-Opposition independent joined DPP

The 3 DP MPs that became pro-LDP independents will be tricky.  They would want to run for re-election on the LDP ticket but the local LDP branch would not agree to this so they might have to run against other LDP candidates to win while the Opposition will be running candidates as well.

On the PR side
                   2016                      Today
LDP              19                           19
pro-LDP Ind                                   1
KP                 7                              7
YP                                                 1
JRP                4                             3
DP               11
DPP                                              4
CDP                                              7
LP                 1
SDP               1                             1
JCP                5                             5

A DP MP became a pro-LDP independent
A LP MP joined CDP
A JRP MP joined recreated YP (this is, of course, 渡辺 喜美(Watanabe Yoshimi) the original founder of YP back in 2008 and joined and won on the JRP PR slate in 2016 in a political comeback)

Map of the class of 2019 to today (did not change much)

                     2019              Today
LDP                 38                   37
KP                     7                    7
JRP                   5                     4
DPP                  2                     2
CDP                 13                   13
OPPN                6                     7
JCP                   3                     3

A LDP MP had to resign on corruption charges and a pro-opposition independent won the by-election
A JRP MP resigned to run for mayor of 横浜(Yokohama).  His seat will be filled as part of the 2022 election.  This means the 神奈川(Kanagawa) district will elect 5 winners versus 4 to fill this open this.  The last-place winner will be allocated this open seat and will have to face re-election in 2025.

                    2019                Today
LDP                19                   19
KP                   7                     7
PNHK               1                     1
JRP                  5                     5
DPP                  3                    3
CDP                  8                    8
RS                   2                     2
SDP                 1                    
OPPN                                      1
JCP                  4                     4

SDP MP joined CDP
CDP MP left CDP to become pro-Opposition independent

So overall current Upper House standings are

LDP               111
pro-LDP Ind       4
KP                   28
PNHK                1
YP                     1
JRP                 15
DPP                12
CDP                44
OPPN              12
RS                    2
JCP                 13

with one seat vacant

What is critical for the Opposition to hold on to their seats is how the 32 1- member district seats go.  In 2016 and 2019 there was a de facto Center-Left Opposition (including DPP in 2019) JCP alliance to take on LDP in these 32 seats.  In 2016 it was LDP-Opposition 21-11 and in 2019 it was LDP-Opposition 22-10.  This time around it seems DPP is ruling out an alliance with JCP and will be working closely with JRP.  This does not mean they will not de facto work with JCP in these 32 seats when DPP has two 1- member seats to defend (山形(Yamagata) and 大分(Ōita))

Another complicating factor is that in 宮城(Miyagi) and 福島(Fukushima) the 2016 DP winner have since defected to LDP and are now pro-LDP independents.  Both will want to run for re-election but the local LDP branch will for sure run their own candidate turning both races into a likely 3- way race of LDP vs pro-LDP defector from DP vs Opposition.  I can even see JRP-DPP backing the pro-LDP defector as a way to get into the act.

JRP is experiencing somewhat of a surge in support at the moment - if they could sustain or even build on this over the next six months what would their realistic best case be?


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