According to public opinion polls in Japan, the Government there is seriously threatened with a major defeat in Sunday's (July 10) general elections for the upper house of Parliament-the House of Councillors.
According to public opinion polls in Japan, the Government there is seriously threatened with a major defeat in Sunday's (July 10) general elections for the upper house of Parliament-the House of Councillors. According to the country's constitution, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-the LDP-could still continue to govern with its current slight majority in the lower house, which is not affected by the present election. But a defeat on Sunday could lead to a major loss of confidence in Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda's administration, according to political observers in Japan-and this could have disastrous results in the next general elections for the Diet, or Parliament as a whole.
SYNOPSIS: Normally, the Upper House elections are of little serious consequence for the Government of the day, which effectively rules on its lower house majority. But Mr. Fukuda has only a one-seat majority in the Upper house, and a small majority of five in the 511-seat lower chamber. His predecessor, Mr. Takeo Miki, resigned after a major set-back in the lower house elections last December -- and Mr Fukuda himself has been addressing street meetings in an effort to prevent a further erosion of the party's support.
More than a dozen parties have entered Sunday's election. Under Japan's complex electoral system, only half of the 252 upper house seats are being contested -- but 65 of them belong to the ruling LDP. The way it works, they'll have to win all of them to retain their one-seat majority. Among the opposition, meanwhile, is the 20-seat Japanese Communist Party, whose leader, Kenji Miyamoto, has also been on the street appealing for support.
Like others, he's been attacking the government on its weakest point-- the financial corruption scandals involving its own ministers, especially the U.S. Lockheed aircraft bribes affairs.