DPJ’s historic win in Tokyo seen as inevitable amid LDP disarray

by Kazuaki Nagata and Minoru Matsutani

The Democratic Party of Japan’s historic victory in Sunday’s Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election was no surprise, many local voters said Monday, expressing dissatisfaction with the Liberal Democratic Party, with some already saying they will vote DPJ in the general election even though they are not earnest backers of the party.

Prime Minister Taro Aso reportedly plans to dissolve the Lower House on July 21 or later next week and call for an Aug. 30 election.

He can expect to face a tough time.

“I think the result (of the local Tokyo election) was a matter of course,” Katsutoshi Otani, 60, who works at a company that studies transportation accidents, said near JR Tamachi Station, noting the national political situation was a big factor for Sunday’s election.

Otani said that although he is not a DPJ supporter, he voted for a DPJ candidate because the LDP appears incapable of managing the government.

“I don’t really like to complain about the LDP, as the party has experience, such as the rapid economic development in the postwar era,” he said. But “thinking about how capable the LDP is as a ruling party, it no longer seems to have what it takes.”

Otani said he plans to vote DPJ in the general election.

“By changing the ruling party, I have hope that something will change,” he said.

A 59-year-old man who lives in the Tokyo suburb of Musashino and serves on the board of a nonprofit organization said he also voted for the DPJ candidate there “because he is an incumbent and he has done many good things.”

He said he plans to vote for the DPJ in the Lower House election and expects the party to continue enjoying the momentum.

In the Upper House, the DPJ has 110 seats, of 45 percent of the chamber’s 242. The LDP has 84 seats and New Komeito 21, leaving the ruling bloc with just 43 percent of the chamber.

Some voters who said they voted for the DPJ have not decided what party to support in the general election.

A 27-year-old office worker in the printing industry said she has not decided on a candidate in the general election, although she voted for a DPJ candidate Sunday.

While Aso is reportedly ready to dissolve the Lower House next week, he is expected to face resistance from LDP members who hope to delay the campaign and replace him before it is held.

The female worker said if the LDP changes leaders, she would weigh the newcomer’s position before deciding how to cast her vote.

A 42-year-old housewife in Minato Ward also said she has not decided which party to favor in the general election.

Although previously behind the LDP, she voted for a DPJ candidate Sunday because she felt there was no other choice.

“The LDP seems in such disarray, and (its members) are not looking at the people,” she said.