Japan Upper House election update


This revision is based on today’s Japan Times article about a survey of 30,000 households done by Kyodo news service.

From the story, half of the respondents hadn’t made up their minds yet. This means either that the race is wide open, or–like in America–people who don’t actually vote say “they haven’t decided yet.” And maybe a combination of both.

If a story about voting doesn’t have a chart or a map, I get frustrated. So I have to draw my own.

What the story says is that the 121 seats up are divided between 73 “district” seats and 48 “proportional”.

Let’s work with the 73 district seats:

Twenty-nine are single, “prefecture-based” constituencies. Of those 29, 27 involve a competition between LDP and DPJ. In five, the DPJ is way ahead. In three, the LDP is ahead.

Let’s split the competitive ones, 9.5 to 9.5.

So give the DPJ 14.5 and the LDP 12.5.

Next there are 12 two-seat constituencies, where the guess is LDP will take one seat and DPJ the other. So each gets another 12. (Running total: DPJ 26.5; LDP 24.5.)

There are five seats in three-seat constituencies. Let’s split it 3 to 2. (Running total: DPJ 29.5; LDP 26.5.)

So if I am doing the math right, there are about another seven district seats that would either go between DPJ an LDP, or those parties versus a minor party. Seeing how Komeito has been in alliance with LDP, and the article says Komeito is having a rough time, I am going to add 3 more seats for DPJ and 4 more for LDP. (Running total: DPJ 32.5; LDP 30.5)

At that point, there would be ten district seats remaining. I don’t have enough knowledge and sophistication to know who would get those seats, and the article is quiet about it.

Now to the proportional side, the 48.

The piece says that the DPJ should get between 15 and 19; LDP to get between 10 and 14. I pick 18 and 13. (Running total: DPJ 50.5; LDP 43.5). Komeito, again, is said to be struggling, so I’ll give them six. The minor parties are also ranking low, so I’ll give the communists two, shut-out the SDP, give the coalition People’s New Party just one. Same for Mazuoe’s Renaissance Party, (which does not seem to be taking off). “Your Party”, a microparty that got an earlier start out of the gate, is said to be in the running for 7 seats.

I updated my old Excel file to reflect these numbers.

What result? Same result. The presence of the smaller parties and microparties make it difficult for DPJ to command an outright majority of the Upper House. In fact, as it stands now, it looks like they have relied heavily on independents as much was they did Shizuka Kamei and Mizuho Fukushima. (The independents voted with the DPJ but were not part of the party. Another way of looking at it is that they were each their own microparty.)

If the DPJ expects to have control of the Upper House, they really need to hustle in the next couple weeks. They have 121 with Kamei and the independents. They need at least that, and the polling seems to be showing that the power of the 50-50 split–either in competitive district seats or in the two-seat arrangement–is going to hold them to about what they have now.