Last weekend, opposition parties swept three Diet seat elections in what many are calling a blow to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and a bellwether for things to come. In principle, those characterizations are correct, but not in the way some may think.

The easy assumption to make is that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s inability to win any seats in the by-elections reflects a growing disdain towards the Suga administration among the ill-defined "Japanese public." Some will argue that what happened on Sunday represents a shifting political landscape where the opposition may have a fighting chance in the forthcoming Lower House election. However prevalent those assertions may be in the media space, it does not mean they are accurate.

To understand the current state of play in Japanese politics, it is necessary to pull back the curtain, dive further into the internal machinations of the LDP and frame the discourse through the issues influencing the behind-the-scenes politicking taking place.