With only four days before the nation goes to the polls, veteran lawmaker Ichiro Ozawa slammed the opposition camp Wednesday for failing to cooperate in the fight against the ruling bloc in the Upper House election.
But Ozawa, who leads the small opposition Seikatsu no To (People’s Life Party) predicted that “a strong force” could emerge among the opposition parties before the next general election with the aim of bringing down the LDP-led government.
“Despite the failure of the Democratic Party of Japan, the public wants alternatives” to the Liberal Democratic Party, Ozawa said at a news conference hosted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. “It will take much time to form an alliance because egos of politicians and political parties would clash. But the public is increasingly demanding a change in the current situation.”
Lackluster performances by opposition parties appear to have failed to woo voters, with polls showing that the LDP, together with junior coalition partner New Komeito, is projected to seize an overwhelming majority in the upper chamber, while the DPJ, which currently has the most members in the Upper House, is projected to lose half of those seats.
Ozawa’s party, which along with other opposition parties has criticized Abe’s economic policies and has also called for a nuclear power phaseout, have endorsed 11 candidates. But with just a small segment of voters supporting the party, some polls have shown that all five candidates running in electoral districts could lose their seats, including deputy leader Yuko Mori.
Ozawa admitted that the lack of coordination among opposition parties this time would likely allow the ruling bloc to sweep the election. Seikatsu no To, for example, agreed to cooperate with the DPJ against the ruling bloc, but both parties have fielded their own candidates in electoral districts, including Mori’s Niigata Prefecture constituency and Iwate Prefecture, where Ozawa was elected as a Lower House member.
Some political observers blame Ozawa for the lack of strong opposition unity, since the politician, nicknamed “the destroyer,” has had a track record of creating and disbanding political parties.
Once the president of the DPJ, Ozawa left the party last July with 49 lawmakers from both chambers and formed the now-defunct Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi party (People’s Life First), which in November merged with Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) led by Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada to appeal to anti-nuclear voters before the December Lower House election. That party, however, was trounced, and Ozawa, who started his career in the LDP, again broke with Kada to form Seikatsu no To.