General Election Outlook 2021 - Opinion Piece
Developments in the Final Racing Rounds of the Political Circuit
According to the traditional Japanese calendar autumn has already arrived, but the unbearably hot summer still continues. We have felt the heat lingering on longer than before in recent years, most likely due to global warming. This tremendously hot summer will transform into a hot fall in the political arena, as Members of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the National Diet of Japan, are fast approaching the end of their term on October 21. In addition, Prime Minister (PM) Yoshihide Suga's term as the party leader (president) of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will come to an end this month. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Olympic and Paralympic Games have proved to be complex political issues for the government. Suga still battles to control COVID-19 and has successfully hosted the Olympic Games in which Japan did surprisingly well. (The Japan team had its highest ever haul: 27 Gold, 14 Silver, and 17 Bronze medals.) But the PM is unlikely to earn any credit for this. It is still difficult to make any definite prediction regarding a general election even now at the beginning of September, with less than two months of the lawmakers‘ terms remaining. (Here the term "general election“ refers to the House of Representatives election). The LDP decided to hold its leadership (presidential) election on September 29 , thus the general election will take place sometime after this, from October to November. In this paper I will discuss possible general election dates and explain why it is so difficult to predict a definite date.