Suga’s failure to win the Olympic rebound gives hope to leading competitors


Japanese politics and policy updates

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made a straightforward plan for the summer: Host the Tokyo Olympics Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, it still aroused public enthusiasm and successfully won the election with a wave of medals.

However, even though Japan won an unprecedented 27 gold medals and there were basically no problems with the Olympics, the prime minister showed no signs of a rebound from the Olympics, which pushed Japan into political turmoil and uncertainty.

According to the Japanese Constitution, Yoshihide Suga’s term as the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will expire in September, and the general election must be held before November 30.But one Smooth sliding Analysts said that in the Prime Minister’s poll rating, he is at increased risk of facing political leadership challenges.

A sort of Recent polls Because the Asahi newspaper is one of several newspapers that showed that Yoshihide Suga’s approval rating has fallen below 30%, this is widely regarded as a dangerous level. “Within the Liberal Democratic Party, this creates a feeling that Yoshihide Suga cannot stand out in the election,” said political analyst and former party official Atsuo Ito.

The public seems to enjoy the Olympics: 56% of voters in the Asahi poll said that it was the right decision to continue hosting the Olympics. But they did not approve of the way Suga forced the incident to happen, 54% said it was not held in a safe and reliable way.

The Olympic Games are held behind closed doors, there are Relatively few Covid-19 cases In the so-called Olympic bubble, efforts are made to isolate contestants and officials related to the event from the wider public. However, during the Olympics, the number of cases in Japan tripled, reaching more than 15,000 cases per day.

Yoshihide Suga (right) is unable to attend any events other than the opening and closing ceremonies due to the epidemic, and it is difficult to benefit politically © Reuters

Yoshihide Suga said: “This is an unprecedented match, but we have fulfilled our responsibility as the host and handed the baton to Paris.” Short video Released over the weekend because he tried to gain credit for his advancement. The French capital will host the next Summer Olympics in 2024.

This Lack of audience It makes it difficult for the Prime Minister to associate himself with the Olympics in a positive way. Except for the opening and closing ceremonies, he did not participate in any other activities, and has not met any Japanese gold medalists.

Waseda University professor Mieko Nakabayashi said: “Many people think the Olympics are great and are appreciated for their outstanding athletes and their performance.” “But they did not directly connect this to the leadership of Mr. Yoshihide Suga.”

Overwhelming majority Disapproval Naoto Kan’s handling of the pandemic and believes that Japan’s vaccine launch has already too slow, According to opinion polls.

Suga’s question is what to do now. Ito said that under the prime minister’s ideal situation, he will hold a general election in early September to seize the leadership competition within the party. However, the high level of Covid cases makes this difficult.

Suga’s election timeline

July 23 to August 8

Tokyo Olympics

August 24 to September 5

Tokyo Paralympic Games

September 30

Yoshihide Suga’s term of the Liberal Democratic Party leader ends

October 21

The last date to dissolve the House of Commons

November 30

The latest possible date of the general election

Competitors perceive the weakness and begin to show that they intend to oppose Suga’s party leadership, dashing his hopes. Uncontested election.

Sanae Koichi, who held multiple cabinet positions under Suga’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, has announced that she will run for the election.

“I voted for me [for Suga] Because he is the only candidate who promised to stick to the policies of the Abe government,” she wrote in a magazine article. “However, the second arrow of Abenomics—flexible fiscal stimulus—is not implemented correctly. “

She added that the fiscal policy of the Yoshihide Suga government is fragmentary and overly complicated.

Takaichi will struggle to obtain the required 20 parliamentary nominations, but more dangerous competitors are weighing their opportunities, including former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former Secretary of Defense Shigeru Ishiba.

Nakabayashi said: “Real potential leaders such as Kishida and Ishiba are considering whether they should enter.” “That kind of politics begins now.”

In addition to early elections, Suga’s other option is to try to postpone leadership elections due to the pandemic. This will buy time to increase vaccination rates.

Prime Minister’s Advantage The same as when it was elected last September: there is no obvious alternative within the Liberal Democratic Party, and Japan’s opposition parties are weaker. Even with an unpopular leader, the ruling party is a popular candidate to win this fall election.

Nakabayashi said that the wild card is run by a third party. “They will have a great chance because no one really supports the current party,” she said. “People are very dissatisfied. There is a huge opportunity. Unless this kind of movement occurs, the Liberal Democratic Party will do well.”

Catch up with all our Tokyo Olympics coverage here


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