Atsuo Nakamura, the leader and only member of the Greens Japan party in the House of Councilors, lost his seat in Sunday’s election, according to the final results announced Monday by the Central Election Administration Committee.
Nakamura, 64, who ran in the proportional representation segment, garnered 204,712 votes. His party fielded 10 candidates in the section, in which voters write either the name of a party or candidate, but none won.
It is difficult for minor parties to make inroads.
“Small political parties absorb the votes of those who are dissatisfied with the major parties, but they cannot work properly,” Tomoaki Iwai, a professor of politics at Nihon University, noted before the election.
An advocate of environmental preservation and the war-renouncing Constitution, Nakamura failed to retain his seat despite his name recognition as a former actor and TV anchorman as well as his six-year term as a lawmaker.
Nakamura conceded defeat early Monday. He said he had already decided the election would be his last and it would be hard to keep his party going.
“It was as if I was sprinkling water on the desert during the campaign. We failed to obtain public understanding for our policies,” he said, adding he would exit the political arena as he had said before the election.
Known as a well-traveled lawmaker, Nakamura has covered most of Japan as part of a vigorous environmental initiative.
Nakamura won his first Upper House seat in 1998 as an independent in the Tokyo constituency, and joined the now-defunct New Party Sakigake the same year. He became Sakigake leader in 2000 and the only member in the Diet after other members joined the Democratic Party of Japan. He launched Greens Japan in 2002.
Nakamura campaigned by saying it was crucial to have an alternative to the Liberal Democratic Party and DPJ.
Failure in Paraguay
Michio Takakura, who ran in Sunday’s House of Councilors election as a Japanese resident of Paraguay, got trounced in his bid for a Diet seat in the proportional representation segment.
Takakura, 63, was running on the ticket of the Liberal Democratic Party, focusing his official campaigning outside Japan — in the United States, Paraguay and Brazil, where relatively large numbers of Japanese reside — with a pledge to represent the opinion of overseas Japanese.