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Ruling party elder sees tough vote

Ruling party elder sees tough vote

Japan's finance minister said Tuesday the ruling party has lost support in Tokyo and is facing a voter revolt across the nation, suggesting his party could lose to the leading opposition party and fall from power for only the second time in 54 years.
The comment by Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano, one of the most senior members in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, follows a series of public opinion polls indicating the ruling party will lose in a landslide to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan in parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Other members of the ruling party, including Prime Minister Taro Aso, have tried to play down the polls, saying a large number of voters claim to be undecided and they could swing the elections back in the ruling party's favor.
But Yosano said the party has lost support in Tokyo, Japan's capital and biggest city, and was facing a wave of voter revolt across the country. Yosano, who ran against Aso last year for the party presidency, has been elected from his Tokyo constituency nine times.
"Each constituency across Japan, without exception, is in a difficult situation," Yosano said at a news conference. "My constituency is no exception. A huge wave of the DPJ is sweeping over Tokyo. It looks like they could control the parliament under a one-party dictatorship."
Aso on Sunday tried to play down the recent polls and suggested his party could do better than expected.
A poll by Kyodo projected Sunday the Democratic Party of Japan could win more than 300 of the 480 lower house seats being contested in the elections. That would allow it to comfortably unseat the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which has dominated Japan for all but a stint of less than a year since they were formed in 1955.
Aso, however, said a lot could change in a week.
Support levels for the Liberal Democrats are "trending upward," he told public broadcaster NHK on Sunday. "The situation can totally change in a day or two. We will keep reaching out to voters with our policies."
"This is a special summer for Japan," Aso said in another appeal televised Tuesday. "Our party is the one that has the responsibility to govern."
The Democratic Party, which won control of the less powerful upper house in 2007, had 112 seats in the lower chamber before parliament was dissolved July 21. The Liberal Democrats, a conservative party that has traditionally represented big business and rural voters, held 300 seats.
Other polls have made similar predictions.
Democratic Party President Yukio Hatoyama, who would likely become prime minister if his party wins control of the lower house, has vowed not to become complacent in the final stretch of the campaign.
Hatoyama was to make a series of campaign speeches in the Tokyo area on Tuesday, while other DPJ leaders were also on stumping tours across the country.
The ruling party has watched its support plummet because of the fragile economy, increasing unemployment, a perceived lack of leadership and its support of higher taxes.
Aso, who is the party's president, is widely seen as a weak leader with a tendency for gaffes and indecisiveness. Recent polls have showed his support rating at less than 20 percent.


Updated : 2021-07-30 20:00 GMT+08:00