2014 Japanese general election

General elections were held in Japan on 14 December 2014. Voting took place in all Representatives constituencies of Japan including proportional blocks to elect the members of the House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet of Japan. As the cabinet resigns in the first post-election Diet session after a general House of Representatives election (Constitution, Article 70), the lower house election also led to a new election of the prime minister in the Diet, won by incumbent Shinzō Abe, and the appointment of a new cabinet (with some ministers re-appointed). The voter turnout in this election remains the lowest in Japanese history.

2014 Japanese general election

← 2012 14 December 2014 2017 →

All 475 seats in the House of Representatives of Japan
238 seats needed for a majority
Turnout52.65%
  First party Second party Third party
  Shinzō Abe Official (cropped 2).jpg Banri Kaieda 201106.jpg Kenji Eda Sakado 20141203 crop.jpg
Leader Shinzō Abe Banri Kaieda Kenji Eda
Party Liberal Democratic Democratic Innovation
Leader since 26 September 2012 25 December 2012 21 September 2014
Leader's seat Yamaguchi-4th Tokyo-1st (lost)
Tokyo PR (lost)
Kanagawa-8th
Last election 294 seats 57 seats
Seats won 291 73 41
Seat change Decrease3 Increase16 New
Popular vote 17,658,916 9,775,991 8,382,699
Percentage 33.11% 18.33% 15.72%
Swing Increase5.49pp Increase2.84pp New

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Natsuo Yamaguchi 2014.jpg Kazuo Shii cropped.jpg Takeo Hiranuma0624 cropped.jpg
Leader Natsuo Yamaguchi Kazuo Shii Takeo Hiranuma
Party Komeito Communist Future Generations
Leader since 8 September 2009 24 November 2000 1 August 2014
Leader's seat Not contesting
(Councillor)
Minami-Kantō PR Okayama-3rd
Last election 31 seats 8 seats
Seats won 35 21 2
Seat change Increase4 Increase13 New
Popular vote 7,314,236 6,062,962 1,414,919
Percentage 13.71% 11.37% 2.65%
Swing Increase1.81pp Increase5.20pp New

  Seventh party Eighth party
  Tadatomo Yoshida cropped 2 Masaharu Nakagawa Mizuho Fukushima and Tadatomo Yoshida 201204.jpg Ichiro Ozawa cropped 4 Ichiro Ozawa 20010718.jpg
Leader Tadatomo Yoshida Ichirō Ozawa
Party Social Democratic People's Life
Leader since 14 October 2013 25 January 2013
Leader's seat Not contesting
(Councillor)
Iwate-4th
Last election 2 seats
Seats won 2 2
Seat change Steady New
Popular vote 1,314,441 1,028,721
Percentage 2.46% 1.93
Swing Increase0.08pp New

2014 JAPAN GENERAL ELECTION, winner vote share.svg
districts and PR districts, shaded according to winners' vote strength.

Prime Minister before election

Shinzō Abe
Liberal Democratic

Prime Minister after election

Shinzō Abe
Liberal Democratic

BackgroundEdit

In 2012, the Democratic Party government under Yoshihiko Noda decided to raise the Japanese consumption tax. This unpopular moved allowed the Liberal Democratic Party under Shinzo Abe to regain control of the Japanese government in the 2012 Japanese general election. Abe proceeded to implement a series of economic programs known as "Abenomics" in a bid to stimulate the economy. Despite these programs, Japan entered a technical recession in mid-2014, which Abe blamed on the consumption tax hike, even though many members of the LDP supported the hike. Abe called a snap election on November 18, in part for the purpose of winning LDP backing to postpone the hike and pursue the Abenomics package.[1][2]

The LDP government was widely expected to win the election in a landslide, and many observers viewed the snap election as a mechanism for Abe to entrench his government at a time of relative popularity.[3]

Under 2013 changes to the electoral law designed to reduce malapportionment, district boundaries in 17 prefectures were redrawn and five districts are eliminated without replacement (one each in Fukui, Yamanashi, Tokushima, Kōchi and Saga). The number of first-past-the-post seats is reduced to 295, the total number of seats decreases to 475.[4]

Opinion pollsEdit

Parties' approval ratings from 2013–14

(Source: NHK)

Date Lead
LDP DPJ JRP PFG NKP YP PLP JCP SDP GW NRP UP JIP Other No Party Undecided
5–7 December 38.1% 11.7% 0.1% 5.9% 0.3% 4.3% 0.9% 0.0% 3.7% 0.1% 26.3% 8.5% 11.8%
7–9 November 36.6% 7.9% 0.2% 2.2% 0.0% 0.0% 3.5% 0.6% 1.2% 0.1% 40.0% 7.7% 3.4%
11–13 October 40.2% 5.6% 0.1% 4.1% 0.5% 0.1% 3.3% 0.9% 1.4% 0.1% 35.0% 8.8% 5.2%
5–7 September 40.4% 5.4% 0.7% 0.1% 4.3% 0.0% 0.2% 3.3% 0.5% 0.1% 0.4% 36.9% 7.8% 3.5%
8–10 August 36.7% 6.4% 1.0% 0.3% 3.0% 0.2% 0.3% 3.2% 0.7% 0.0% 0.0% 39.4% 8.8% 2.7%
11–13 July 34.3% 4.8% 1.7% 3.6% 0.5% 0.3% 3.4% 0.9% 0.1% 0.3% 42.5% 7.6% 8.2%
6–8 June 36.9% 5.1% 1.1% 4.0% 0.4% 0.1% 2.8% 0.6% 0.0% 0.1% 42.4% 6.7% 5.5%
9–11 May 41.4% 5.6% 1.1% 3.7% 0.2% 0.3% 2.4% 0.9% 0.2% 0.1% 37.2% 6.9% 4.2%
11–13 April 38.1% 7.4% 1.3% 3.4% 0.9% 0.2% 3.6% 0.6% 0.1% 0.2% 37.2% 5.2% 0.9%
7–9 March 38.7% 6.5% 1.1% 2.2% 0.8% 0.1% 3.3% 0.8% 0.4% 0.1% 40.0% 5.2% 1.3%
7–9 February 36.2% 5.8% 1.3% 3.9% 1.1% 0.3% 3.3% 1.4% 0.5% 0.2% 41.0% 5.2% 4.8%
11–13 January 40.4% 5.8% 1.6% 2.8% 0.8% 0.1% 1.6% 0.7% 0.1% 0.3% 40.3% 5.5% 0.1%
2014
6–8 December 36.7% 7.8% 2.1% 2.8% 1.2% 0.2% 3.1% 0.6% 0.0% 38.7% 6.8% 2.0%
8–10 November 41.9% 5.2% 1.8% 4.4% 1.9% 0.3% 3.3% 0.4% 0.3% 35.1% 5.6% 6.8%
12–14 October 36.1% 5.2% 2.1% 3.8% 1.2% 0.2% 4.0% 0.5% 0.3% 41.8% 4.9% 5.7%
6–8 September 40.3% 5.5% 2.2% 4.4% 2.1% 0.0% 3.2% 0.7% 0.2% 34.6% 6.8% 5.7%
9–11 August 37.9% 7.3% 4.6% 4.6% 3.2% 0.2% 3.5% 0.8% 0.9% 30.8% 6.2% 7.1%
5–7 July 42.5% 8.0% 2.7% 5.3% 3.1% 0.5% 3.7% 0.9% 0.1% 0.0% 0.3% 24.5% 8.4% 18.0%
7–9 June 41.7% 5.8% 1.5% 5.1% 1.5% 0.1% 2.2% 0.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 34.6% 7.0% 7.1%
10–12 May 43.4% 5.3% 2.4% 3.7% 2.3% 0.3% 2.0% 1.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 33.3% 6.1% 10.1%
5–7 April 43.6% 6.1% 2.1% 3.7% 1.3% 0.4% 2.0% 0.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 34.5% 5.6% 9.1%
8–10 March 40.1% 7.0% 3.9% 4.4% 3.1% 0.3% 2.1% 0.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 31.8% 6.6% 8.3%
10–12 February 40.4% 7.0% 5.3% 3.1% 2.6% 0.3% 2.1% 0.8% 0.1% 0.0% 0.3% 31.7% 6.3% 8.7%
12–14 January 37.8% 7.6% 6.5% 4.0% 3.7% 0.5% 2.7% 0.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 30.8% 5.4% 7.0%
2013
Cabinet approval/disapproval ratings
 
Approval (blue) and Disapproval (red) Ratings for Second and Third Abe Cabinet
Date PM
Approval Disapproval
5–7 December Shinzo Abe 47% 38%
7–9 November Shinzo Abe 44% 38%
11–13 October Shinzo Abe 52% 34%
5–7 September Shinzo Abe 58% 28%
8–10 August Shinzo Abe 51% 33%
11–13 July Shinzo Abe 47% 38%
6–8 June Shinzo Abe 52% 32%
9–11 May Shinzo Abe 56% 29%
11–13 April Shinzo Abe 52% 31%
7–9 March Shinzo Abe 51% 30%
7–9 February Shinzo Abe 52% 33%
11–13 January Shinzo Abe 54% 31%
2014
21–22 December[5] Shinzo Abe 49% 34%
6–8 December Shinzo Abe 50% 35%
8–10 November Shinzo Abe 60% 25%
12–14 October Shinzo Abe 58% 26%
6–8 September Shinzo Abe 59% 23%
9–11 August Shinzo Abe 57% 29%
5–7 July Shinzo Abe 57% 25%
7–9 June Shinzo Abe 62% 20%
10–12 May Shinzo Abe 65% 18%
5–7 April Shinzo Abe 66% 19%
23–24 March[6] Shinzo Abe 69% 6%
9–10 March[7] Shinzo Abe 76% 22%
8–10 March Shinzo Abe 66% 18%
10–12 February Shinzo Abe 64% 20%
8–10 February[8] Shinzo Abe 71% 18%
12–14 January Shinzo Abe 64% 22%
11–13 January[8] Shinzo Abe 68% 24%
2013

ResultsEdit

 
Constituency Cartogram
 
Election result map

The LDP lost a small number of seats but slightly enlarged its majority coalition with Komeito. Turnout was a record low, and many voters viewed the election as a waste of time and money. DPJ president Banri Kaieda lost his seat in Tokyo while the Japanese Communist Party doubled in strength.[9][10] The right-leaning Japan Innovation Party and Party for Future Generations lost seats.[11]

 
PartyProportionalConstituencyTotal
seats
+/–
Votes%SeatsVotes%Seats
Liberal Democratic Party17,658,91633.116825,461,44948.10223291–3
Democratic Party of Japan9,775,99118.333511,916,84922.513873+16
Japan Innovation Party8,382,69915.72304,319,6468.161141New
Komeito7,314,23613.7126765,3901.45935+4
Japanese Communist Party6,062,96211.37207,040,17013.30121+13
Party for Future Generations1,414,9192.650947,3961.7922New
Social Democratic Party1,314,4412.461419,3470.79120
People's Life Party1,028,7211.930514,5750.9722New
Happiness Realization Party260,1110.49000
Shiji Seitō Nashi104,8540.2000New
New Renaissance Party16,5970.03000
Genzei Nippon32,7590.0600New
Future Party4,8830.0100New
Katsuko Inumaru and Republican Party4,6680.01000
World Economic Community Party1,4160.00000
Independents1,511,2422.8588+3
Total53,334,447100.0018052,939,790100.00295475–5
Valid votes53,334,44797.4552,939,79096.71
Invalid/blank votes1,398,2832.551,801,5623.29
Total votes54,732,730100.0054,741,352100.00
Registered voters/turnout103,962,78552.65103,962,78452.65
Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, CLEA

Notable lossesEdit

The most high-profile LDP candidate to lose re-election is Agriculture Minister Koya Nishikawa, who lost by 199 votes (0.2%) to former Governor of Tochigi Akio Fukuda.[12] He was questioned in October after allegedly receiving financial support from a fraudulent company.[13]

Amongst the DPJ members to lose their seats were party leader Banri Kaieda.[14] Party for Future Generations leader Shintaro Ishihara was also unsuccessful in his attempt to win a seat after receiving a low position on his party's representative ballot.[14]

Former leader of the now-dissolved Your Party and six-term representative for Tochigi-3rd district Yoshimi Watanabe was also defeated.[15]

The JCP gained its first single-seat constituency seat since the 1996 election. Amidst a growing anti-base movement in Okinawa, JCP candidate Seiken Akamine unseated LDP incumbent Kōnosuke Kokuba in a night marked with a nationwide JCP surge.[16]

AftermathEdit

In November 2015, the Grand Bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the inequality in vote weight due to malapportionment was still in an unconstitutional state (iken jōtai); however, as in previous such rulings, it dismissed the demand to invalidate the election.[17][18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wakatabe, Masazumi. "Election With A Cause: Why Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Must Call General Election Now". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  2. ^ McCurry, Justin (2014-11-18). "Japan calls snap election". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  3. ^ Boyd, John. "Japan's unwanted election: Why now?". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  4. ^ Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: 衆議院小選挙区の区割りの改定等について
  5. ^ "Approval rating for Abe Cabinet falls below 50% for 1st time since inauguration: Mainichi poll (in English)". Mainichi Shimbun. 24 December 2013. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  6. ^ "【産経・FNN合同世論調査】安倍内閣支持69・6%に上昇 鳩山内閣発足時を超える". MSN産経ニュース. Archived from the original on 2013-03-03. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  7. ^ TBS/JNN
  8. ^ a b 内閣支持率71%、2回連続上昇...読売世論調査
  9. ^ "Abe coalition secures big Japan election win with record low turnout". Reuters. 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  10. ^ "Japan election: Voters back Shinzo Abe as PM wins new term - BBC News". BBC News. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  11. ^ "Romping home". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  12. ^ NHK(Japan Broadcasting Corporation). "NHK2014衆院選".
  13. ^ "Sukyandaru: Shinzo Abe's plan to raise the profile of women in his cabinet is in tatters". The Economist. 25 October 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Abe tightens grip on power as ruling coalition wins 325 seats in Lower House election". The Japan Times. 15 December 2014.
  15. ^ "Ex-Your Party leader Watanabe, ex-Tokyo Gov. Ishihara to lose seats". mainichi.jp. Archived from the original on 2014-12-15.
  16. ^ Aoki, Mizuho (15 December 2014). "Resurgent JCP has night to remember". Japan Times. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  17. ^ Nihon Keizai Shimbun, November 25, 2015: 14年衆院選、1票の格差は「違憲状態」 最高裁大法廷
  18. ^ The Japan Times, November 25, 2015: Supreme Court says December election ‘in state of unconstitutionality,’ but won't nullify results

External linksEdit

  Media related to Japanese general election, 2014 at Wikimedia Commons