A d’Hondt system calculator, courtesy of Shisaku.

While reading Shisaku‘s blog last week, I learned of a handy election calculator out there. If you are looking to figure out how many seats a party can get in this month’s Upper House election, you don’t have to make some fancy-schmanzy Excel spreadsheet. Or even a rough-framed one, like my style.

Here is the one I did on that site: link

Trying to use the same percentages as Shisaku, with maybe a couple of changes in the microparties, I came up with 19 proportional seats for the DPJ and 14 for the LPD.

What surprised me is how many of the minor parties and microparties simply become a washout. (I’m afraid this would even include Masuzoe’s new party.)

When I compare these results to what I had done on the quickie Excel the other day, I realized that the microparties really don’t matter so much as the split between LDP and DPJ, and how much the total of microparties pull off from the two major ones.

I also realized that it’s going to be really tough for the DPJ to get 121 upper house seats unless they form even bigger alliances than the ones they tried with Mizuho Fukushima and Shizuka Kamei. They are either going to have to blow away the LDP (not likely), or hope that they can pull in enough votes from the developing Oort Cloud of independents and qualifying microparties, to make something solid happen.

Now remember, for all the talk about Japan being a country of teamwork and everyone in for the group, the reality of it is that it’s really hard to get people to agree to work together. The first thing is[,] everyone’s particular concerns and agendas have to be worked out—it’s like the U.S. Senate in a way.

Some groups, like Fukushima’s Social Democrats and Shii’s Communists, are just throw-away protest votes. A group like the Communists here actually scores enough that they get some seats. But they never cooperate with the government, and so their agenda is never addressed when the laws or budget is being written.

Some of these other groups, though, if they have some thinking wheeler-dealers at the head of them–or some free agents–they can actually help to make things happen.

Please try that calculator yourself if you are hard-core (or even soft-core like me) on this Japan political stuff.