Losing floor space, battle over key posts heaps more humiliation on LDP

by Masami Ito

As if losing power after more than five decades of almost continuous rule wasn’t humbling enough for the Liberal Democratic Party, it is now finding that being in opposition means having to give up all the privileges it has become accustomed to.

On Friday, the LDP suffered a humiliating loss to the incoming Democratic Party of Japan in the battle over key Diet committees and floor space in the Lower House building.

For the first time since the party was formed in 1955, the LDP has lost the best position in the lower chamber building and had to give up more than half its space.

The party saw its total of 1,428 sq. meters in the chamber slashed to a mere 608 sq. meters. The DPJ, on the other hand, more than doubled its floor space from 610 to 1,416 sq. meters.

“With only 119 Diet seats, we can’t secure much space,” LDP lawmaker Ichiro Aisawa admitted.

The LDP did manage to secure the position of vice speaker of the Lower House it had been hoping for, but lost out to the DPJ in almost all other appointments, including most of the top posts for key Diet committees.

The DPJ gained the post of speaker of the house and its lawmakers now chair 15 out of the 17 standing Diet committees, reflecting the party’s political dominance since its landslide win in the Aug. 30 general election.

In last month’s Lower House poll, the LDP could only hold onto 119 of its 303 seats, while the DPJ’s ranks swelled from 112 to 308 members.