With one week to go before the fixing of the lists of candidates for the December 14 election, the Democratic Party of Japan has 173 district candidates, up from 149 a week ago. As of Friday the Japan Innovation Party had 72 district candidates, up from fewer than 50 a week ago.
It might be useful when looking at the relatively small number of candidates being fielded by the moderate and conservative opposition partie to remember these parties have no illusions about their seizing power. Since they cannot fight a broad, comprehensive battle, they are free to pursue a lily pad strategy. They can choose to fight only for strategic districts or districts where they have institutional advantages, leaving the hopeless, primarily rural LDP baronies of the west and southwest for the LDP incumbents who, for the most part, will be far greater irritants for Abe Shinzo in his reform efforts than any opposition representative could be.
In other words, the DPJ/JIP can do serious damage to the pretensions of the current leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party/Komeito by
1) not seeking a win but only the prevention of the ruling coalition from achieving its victory numbers, or
2) just relieving the reformist elements of the LDP of their seats.
As for the DPJ, believers should be taking heart that candidates are coming out of the woodwork to run under the party's flag. In addition to the inception of two members of the defunct Your Party and two members from the Life Party, including that party's secretary-general, word has come that Suzuki Takako, the sole candidate of Hokkaido regional party New Party Daichi and daughter of the party's notorious leader, former LDP pork king Suzuki Muneo, will be running as a DPJ-supported candidate in Hokkaido District #7. (Link)
The grand purpose of this coming election may be just one soft, fuzzy mass of guff. The ground war, however, is coming into focus.
Later - The ever sharp Okumura Jun sees very little standing between the ruling coalition at a >300 seat finish. (Link)