Asia St: When Will Japan’s Next Election Be Held?

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When Will Japan’s Next Election Be Held?

August 19, 2021

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons).

The BGA Japan team, led by Managing Director Kiyoaki Aburaki, wrote an update to clients on the timing of Japan’s next election. The update addressed how the timing of polls hangs in the balance as the ruling party, led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, confronts rising criticism amid a pandemic surge.

Context

Japan has two important elections this fall: the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) election for its president, whose term will expire on September 30, and the national election for members of the House of Representatives, whose terms will end on October 21. To continue being Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga must maintain his position as LDP president.

As Japan’s fall election season quickly approaches, Suga may look to delay the country’s general election. Criticism directed at the Suga administration for the spread of the delta variant amid the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has created a difficult political situation for the LDP, and there are various possible scenarios related to adjusting election timing and Suga’s own political future. If a delay takes place, the date could be pushed to possibly November, when circumstances could be more favorable for his ruling LDP.

Significance

The timing could have a potentially significant effect on Suga and the LDP’s prospects. Calling a snap election toward the end of the season would allow the LDP to recover public trust if a greater portion of the population is vaccinated and the spread of the delta variant is arrested.

Irrespective of timing, Suga and the LDP will still be under considerable pressure and will need to act strategically to maintain seats in the House of Representatives. With the LDP presidential election and the general election back-to-back, the LDP has several options — including but not limited to changing the party leader – but its success will hinge on ramping up vaccinations to appease constituents.

Implications

Regardless of the outcome, businesses can expect policy continuity. The LDP is forecasted to maintain control of the government.

Businesses should closely watch the government’s pandemic management and its economic effects. Of particular note will be how an emphasis on stopping the spread of Covid through an extension of Japan’s state of emergency in various prefectures will take a toll on private consumption and the country’s economic recovery.

BGA will continue to keep you updated on developments in Japan as they occur. If you have any comments or questions, please contact BGA Japan Managing Director Kiyoaki Aburaki at kaburaki@bowergroupasia.com.