The Guardian July 5, 2000

Japanese elections

Japan's ruling conservative coalition (led by the Liberal Democratic 
Party  LDP) lost some 65 seats in the June 25 elections for the House of 
Representatives. This was in spite of the LDP and its partners rigging the 
election system to reduce the number of candidates elected by proportional 
representation, the system that most correctly reflects voters' choice. The 
government parties also resorted to an unprecedented dirty tricks campaign 
to smear the Communists. Leaflets and handbills full of demagoguery, with 
no publisher's name or with false names, addresses and even telephone 
numbers, were distributed all over the country.

A statement issued by the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) says: "Despite 
these circumstances, the JCP secured its seats in all 11 proportional 
representation constituencies and got 20 seats with about 6.71 million 
votes (11.23 percent).

In the single-seat constituencies, the JCP got no seats despite receiving 
about 7.35 million votes (12.08 percent). The JCP statement noted that the 
Party "fought well in all constituencies. We regret that we could not 
achieve a major JCP advance for all the expectations many people had for 
its advance, no matter how severe the hardships were."

Of the 65 seats lost by the government parties, the LDP lost 38 seats; the 
Komei Party 11; the New Conservative Party 11; and Kaikaku Club, 5. The JCP 
says: "This is indicative of a severe judgment the people passed on the 
LDP-Komei-Conservative coalition government and LDP politics. 

Policy questions

Without doubt the JCP, by debating policy questions, has greatly 
contributed to setting a trend of public opinion which passed harsh 
judgment on the ruling coalition.

"The ruling parties' campaign was devoid of policy debate and instead 
concentrated on an intrigue on the largest scale ever seen in Japan's 
election history to stop a JCP advance."

The JCP condemned "these undercover campaigns", saying they undermine 
Japanese democracy. "We will make the best efforts to thoroughly reveal the 
facts and the responsibility, so that such practices will be eliminated 
from Japanese politics", said the JCP statement.

Communist mayor re-elected

Yutaka Yano, a Japanese Communist Party member supported by a citizens' 
group which includes the JCP, was re-elected for his second term as mayor 
of Komae City in Tokyo. He doubled his previous votes to about 20,000, 
while the challenger, supported by the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei 
Party, and the Democratic Party of Japan, polled 15,000.

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