Japan’s new leader is betting on a quick election victory to revitalize the economy – News Couple
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Japan’s new leader is betting on a quick election victory to revitalize the economy


In a Japanese election that struggled to arouse much public enthusiasm among uniformed candidates rushing to make similar election pledges, Kyoto Tsuji was out of the ordinary.

Having spent half his life in Canada and the United States, the 42-year-old father-of-two has built his support around his multicultural roots and promises of a generational change even as his Liberal Democratic Party struggled to project a different image under Fumio Kishida. .

The new prime minister is betting on a quick election victory on Sunday to secure the public mandate and a solid base to revive the stagnant economy still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tsuji, who grew up in Vancouver before attending Columbia University, is one of the more fortunate candidates of the Liberal Democratic Party. In what analysts said will be one of the LDP’s toughest electoral battles in nearly a decade, the former deputy foreign minister is battling four opponents in Tokyo’s 2nd precinct.

In several other constituencies, his fellow parliamentarians are facing only one opponent after Japan’s opposition parties finally managed to unite in an attempt to break the LDP’s dominance.

Kyoto Tsuji, left, who grew up in Canada, sees Sunday’s election as an opportunity to “change the way we do things” © Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters

The five opposition parties fielded a unified candidate in 213 of the 289 first-place constituencies. Only 1,051 candidates – the lowest number ever – are vying for the 465 seats in the Diet House of Representatives. Women represent less than 20 percent of runners.

“I think we will have a harder time than in the previous elections when there are more choices to be made,” Tsuji said before delivering his speech to a small crowd gathered in the rain last week.

“But for me, this election will be a stepping stone for our generation to change the way we do things in Nagatacho [Tokyo’s version of Capitol Hill]. We need more diversity,” added Tsuji, who gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2000 to pursue his political career in Japan.

Tsuji, who was raised by a single mother, pushed to support childcare more broadly and bolster Japan’s foreign policy to counter the rise of China.

The LDP has long benefited from the chaos among Japan’s opposition parties. But the new unit is making the opposition even more terrifying this year.

Even LDP heavyweights and cabinet members, such as new General Secretary Akira Amari and Kenji Wakamiya, Minister of the 2025 World Expo in Osaka, can go head-to-head with a tight competition.

The ruling party faced a crisis over the summer as popular support for then-Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga collapsed over his mixed handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Liberal Democratic Party support has recovered slightly since then as Covid-19 cases have fallen sharply and vaccination rates have surpassed those in the US and UK.

While Kishida won the LDP leadership race this month by providing stability and continuity, he faces the challenge of reviving the world’s fastest aging country that has been stuck in a near-permanent recession.

Voters are seeking to explain how his promises of a “new form of capitalism” differ from former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s program of monetary easing and economic stimulus.

His goal of a more equitable distribution of income also reflects the position of the opposition camp, blurring the lines of debate between the conflicting parties.

“I don’t feel Prime Minister Kishida’s determination that he will change the LDP,” said Mayumi Sakuma, a Tokyo-based voter in her 60s. “My life hasn’t really improved under Mr. Abe and I feel the LDP needs to be punished this time around.”

A mother of a three-year-old in her 30s, revealing only her surname Hiami, struggled to muster any enthusiasm for the ruling party.

“I don’t feel there is much change under Prime Minister Kishida,” she said. “So I don’t support the LDP but I vote for Mr. Tsuji because he is part of the younger generation raising children.”

Kishida set a low hurdle for the ruling coalition of the LDP and Komeito, the centrist party and its long-standing partner, aiming to hold onto majority control of the 465 seats in the House of Representatives.

Recent opinion polls have been divided on whether the Liberal Liberal Party can maintain control on its own by securing 233 seats. Analysts said that if it fails to do so, the position of prime minister before next year’s Senate elections will be in jeopardy.

According to the latest Asahi newspaper poll, the Liberal Democratic Party, which has 276 seats, is expected to win 251 seats, but it may gain as many as 279. Komeito is expected to win as many as 37 seats.

Despite the unified strategy, Japan’s main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, which has 109 seats, is expected to win just 94 to 120 seats.

“Sense of crisis within the Liberal Party appears to be waning, as there is no 99.9 percent chance of a change of government,” said Masatoshi Honda, a political analyst. “But there is a risk that no real winner will emerge from this election.”



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