Long-time Liberal Democratic Party coalition partner Komeito faces tough questions about its future after April’s local elections resulted in losses that weakened its ability to compete with a rising Nippon Ishin no Kai. Those results are likely to impact its relationship on the national stage with the ruling LDP.
At first glance, Komeito appears to have little cause for alarm. Of the 1,555 candidates it supported in last month’s city, prefectural, town and village leadership and assembly elections, only 12 lost — a 99.2% success rate. But for a party that has long been used to complete victories thanks to strong organizational support and votes from its Soka Gakkai base, April’s results are the worst Komeito has seen in local elections since 1998.
That’s in contrast to a surging Nippon Ishin, which went from 469 to 774 representatives in the April elections. While only one Komeito candidate lost in Osaka, the local chapter of Nippon Ishin, known as Osaka Ishin no Kai, captured not only the governor’s and mayor’s seats but also took control of the prefectural and municipal assemblies.