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Date : September 19, 2012

Report (Press Briefing): Autumn Politics: Snap General Election just around the corner (September 19, 2012)

post date : 2013.08.21


FPCJ invited Mr. Hiroshi Hoshi, Op-ed editor of the Asahi Shimbun, to talk under the theme, “Autumn Politics: Snap General Election just around the corner.” Including 18 foreign journalists, a total of 45 people attended this briefing.


At the beginning, Mr. Hoshi presented his own predictions on the results of the leadership elections of the DPJ and LDP, and detailed political schedules after the election. He predicted that Prime Minister Noda would win by a big margin to be re-elected as the DPJ leader. About LDP, while he said that there would be an about 50 percent possibility for Mr. Ishiba to get a large number of votes, leading his rivals to bow out of a runoff voting, Mr. Hoshi spoke of a possibility that a runoff vote would take place between Mr. Ishiba and Mr. Ishihara or Mr. Abe.


On what would take place after the election, Mr. Hoshi said, “In October both a new DPJ regime and a new cabinet will start. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance will probably retain their posts, because they are facing the Senkaku islands issue and the consumption tax issue, respectively. On predicting when the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the general election will take place, he said, “If the new LDP leader takes a different direction from Mr. Tanigaki about the three-party agreement, the dissolution might be delayed until January 2013 or even later. Still there is a more than 50 percent possibility that the new leader will follow the agreement. In this case, the dissolution will take place in late October, and the general election will be in November.” 


On the possible results of the general election, Mr. Hoshi mentioned several points including the following:
(1) It is difficult for LDP to win a single-party majority in the House of Representatives.
(2) Recent surveys of major newspapers show that approval ratings for the Japan Restoration Association are surprisingly low.
Analyzing the above points, he said that after the election, some sort of coalition government will be established. He mentioned the following three possibilities in descending order.
(1) DPJ, LDP and New Komeito will form a grand coalition, the ruling parties will become a majority, and the divided Diet will be gone.
(2) LDP, New Komeito, and JRA will build a coalition but remain in a minority in the House of Councillors, which will not eliminate the divided Diet.
(3) Each party will split up and a political realignment will take place.
Mr. Hoshi concluded, “In any case, it will be a major turning point in Japanese politics.”


Toward the end, he referred also to such policy matters as the consumption tax rise and social security reforms, the TPP participation issue, relations with China and the R.O.K., and the deepening of the Japan-U.S. alliance. As to the issue of nuclear power generation, Mr. Hoshi said, “The LDP’s attitude toward the DPJ’s policy of stopping nuclear power generation in the 2030s is not clear, but if the LDP returns to power, it will promote nuclear power generation.” On diplomacy, he said, “On the Senkaku Islands issue, every candidate for the LDP presidency has a similar policy to Mr. Noda’s, so it will not make a campaign issue. --- In order to confront China squarely, the Japanese government and people feel it necessary to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance. As LDP presidency candidates maintain, the debate on the issue may heat up to exercising the right to collective defense. We should carefully watch future developments.”


During the question and answer session, topics included the possibility that a Japanese “Green Party” will win some seats in the general election and the development of Japan-China relations in the future.

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