New voting system challenges parties
A new electoral formula adapted for the House of Councillors election has made it difficult for political parties to predict the voting of their traditional support organizations, including industrial associations and labor unions.
The difficulty has been felt particularly by the Liberal Democratic Party and Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan).
The revised electoral system allows voters to cast ballots for either individual candidates or political parties.
For years, the LDP has benefited from business association support, while the leading opposition party, Minshuto, has counted on labor unions for electoral support.
"Though I dislike to speak of such things in front of people in the industry, the age has ended when we can garner a huge number of votes only by calling on major firms and their first- and second-stage subcontractors," Hiromu Nonaka, a former LDP secretary general, said at a gathering in Kyoto in late June.
By saying so, Nonaka was trying to heighten his listeners' sense of crisis. He was speaking at a party hosted by a former …