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Tokyo election setback weakens Abe's leadership

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Subject

The results of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election.

Significance

The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections held on July 2 resulted in a massive endorsement for Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and amounted to a serious blow for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Allied with the Komeito party, Koike's group now controls the assembly. This is the worst ever result for Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in a Tokyo election, worse even than the 38 seats it got in July 2009 shortly before the LDP lost power in the general election later that year.

Impacts

  • Koike can now bargain harder with the central government over the Olympics and other issues requiring central-local cooperation.
  • The election has exposed the main opposition Democratic Party's failure to exploit LDP weakness effectively.
  • The dominance of local parties in three major cities is unlikely to translate into a new force in parliamentary politics.
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