: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: News
Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

Sunday election seen as referendum on DPJ policies

Date Posted: 2010-07-08

Vigorous campaigning is tooth-and-nail, going down to the wire before Sunday’s election to fill 121 seats in the Upper House of Councilors, including six politicians from Okinawa.

Political observers say voters will be sending signals to the Democratic Party of Japan, which swept to power last summer, over how well—or how poorly—the DPJ-led government is handling major issues such as the economy and the controversy over maintaining Futenma Marine Corps Air Station on Okinawa, albeit at a new location. The tensions leading up to the election have been accentuated by last month’s resignation of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and the rapid selection of Naoto Kan to replace him.

The Okinawa voting district has four candidates vying for office, while two others are looking for a spot on the proportional representation list. Shokichi Kina, a 62-year-old entertainer-turned-politician from Okinawa is seeking reelection backed by the DPJ, and Kiyomi Uezato, 54, has support of the Communist Party.

Aiko Shimajiri is looking for another term in the Upper House. Born in Miyagi Prefecture, she graduated from Jouichi University and studied in the United States before moving to Okinawa, where she served two terms in the Naha City Assembly. She won her House of Councilors seat in a bi-election. The Japan Communist Party has put up 59-year-old Tadayuki Ijuu into the race. He’s a medical doctor who graduated from Hokkaido University Medical School. His party platform is anti-American bases on Okinawa.

The Administrative Director of the Okinawa Peace Campaign, 57-year-old Hiroji Yamashiro, is supported by the Social Democratic Party. Born in Uruma City, he’s been working for the Okinawa Prefecture offices. Tatsuro Kinjo, 46, is a graduate of Okinawa International University. He’s recognized by the Happiness Realization Party. Kinjo ran for the Upper House seat last election, but lost.

Perhaps the big loser in Sunday’s election is the Democratic Party of Japan, which chose not to field a candidate in Okinawa because of the controversy over the Prime Minister’s decision to stick with a U.S.-Japan agreement to maintain Futenma in Okinawa. Despite campaign promises to the contrary, then-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in late May announced he and the Japanese government would abide by the May 2006 agreement to move Futenma to northern Okinawa. A week later, he resigned while apologizing to the people of Okinawa and Japan. Prime Minister Naoto Kan was quickly sworn into office, but he’s already reconfirmed the Hatoyama decision with an agreement of his own, and promised American President Barack Obama the project will move forward.

Sunday’s election could spell doom for the Social Democratic Party, which severed ties with then-Prime Minister Hatoyama’s government over the Futenma dispute and withdrew from its role as one of two junior coalition partners. The other junior partner, the Kokumin Shinto, the People’s New Party, is also feeling the heat and also struggling to maintain its supporter base. The PNP is trying to woo conservatives to its cause, while the SDP is fighting to maintain the popularity it achieved after standing up to then-Prime Minister Hatoyama and refusing to support the government position on Okinawa. SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima was tossed from her Cabinet Post by Hatoyama in retaliation for her position.

This will be the 22nd House of Councilors election, and the DPJ is holding its breath to see if it can maintain control of the 242-seat Upper House. The DPJ has ruled the past ten months by forming the coalition with the PNP and SDP. It could go well for Kan, but many suggest it could be a mandate on how he should administer the government if his party prevails. The DPJ-led government wouldn’t immediately find itself out, as it holds a comfortable majority in the all-powerful Lower House, but would find itself trapped be a lack of power to push through the Prime Minister’s agenda.

Kan’s been trying to pad the expectations. “’Any prime minister, however competent, cannot make meaningful achievements in one year or less,” he says. “Overseas, leaders usually remain in power for four or five years and carry forward what must be done.” He’s predicting the DPJ can hang on to at least the 54 seats now held, but would like to win 60 to gain the absolute majority that would give his government more flexibility, not to mention the chance to stay in power.

Should the DPJ score fewer than 54 seats, Kan’s government could be in trouble as he’d face calls to accept responsibility for the defeats. One big issue that could haunt him is support for a 10% consumption tax, which voters oppose.

Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

OkistyleOkistyleJU Facebook

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker