LDP Headed For A Majority; Coalition May Get 2/3 Super Majority
The polls continued to align in favor of the Liberal Democratic Party. If they are correct, the LDP will win a majority of the seats in the lower house - the House of Representatives - on its own.
With its traditional ally, the Buddhist backed Komeito Party, the LDP is closing in on a two thirds majority in the lower house. This is constitutionally important, because it would allow the LDP government to override opposition to its legislation in the upper chamber of the Diet – the House of Councilors.
An LDP majority will thwart the strategy of the new Japan Restoration Party that has been hampered by the fact that it is starved of electoral funding as a new party. Restoration had hoped to hold the balance of power between the LDP and the outgoing Democratic Party of Japan. Having experienced a merry-go-round of weak short lived prime ministers, a majority of Japanese voters, according to the polls, want political stability
The strategy is also not going to work given what appears to be the implosion of the DPJ. Just as the DPJ appeared to be a great hope when it swept to power in 2009, so it has proven to be an even greater disappointment. Even senior cabinet members are in danger of losing their parliamentary seats.
Some, including Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, are hedging their bets by appearing on the seats decided by party lists as well as contesting parliamentary districts in direct elections (as in the Federal Republic of Germany and other countries, part of the seats are decided in direct elections and others are decided by proportional voting).
The serious decline in DPJ fortunes has induced Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe to rule out the possibility of a grand coalition with DPJ.
The shift to the right Japan is more than a massive change in the number of seats held by the parties. The DPJ, once the more liberal of Japan's 2 major parties, has lurched rightwards in response to the growing assertiveness of China. This has made the more liberal members of the LDP an endangered species.
In an interview with the liberal Ashai Shimbun, the 75-year-old Yohei Kono, a prominent liberal in the the conservative LDP, was highly pessimistic, claiming that "hawks are in high spirits" and that "the ruling party and the main opposition party are facing the same direction and are competing to outstrip each other in their race toward the right."
China has proven to be totally oblivious to this trend and further escalated the territorial dispute with Japan by sending a Chinese government plane over islands that it claims - and which Japan regards as sovereign Japanese territory. Japanese fighter jets scrambled to meet the Chinese plane which departed the airspace.
The incident, coupled with the North Korean space launch this week, will merely nudge Japan further in the direction that it is heading.