Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party will today release its manifesto for the October 22 general election.
The LDP holds a two-thirds supermajority in Japan’s lower house and is favoured to form government again given the disarray in the main opposition Democratic Party. However, a new entrant—the week-old Party of Hope led by populist Tokyo mayor Yuriko Koike—may provide a stern challenge to Abe with policies like phasing out nuclear power. One poll already has the party at 15%; the LDP sits on 24%.
Today’s manifesto will likely centre on North Korean aggression. Despite a fierce ongoing debate, Abe wants to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution to give Tokyo a first-strike option against Pyongyang. Internal debate within the LDP has mulled a first-strike capability for months—defence hawks are considering acquiring cruise missiles to strike North Korean launch sites if Japan detects signs of an imminent launch.
While the LDP is favoured to win the election, Mr Abe is likely to be denied the two-thirds supermajority he currently enjoys. If the prime minister can’t attract support from outside the LDP, his decision to call an early election may have jeopardised his desire to amend the constitution.
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John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.