Why Japan Dislikes Lengthy Terms in Power

- "Public opinion is a curious thing. Public support for the DPJ has recovered. Figure 1 plots public support rates for the DPJ and LDP since the DPJ’s election win exactly one year ago on August 30, 2009 (source: the Fuji Television New Report 2001 TV program)."
- "Let’s look back over the last 12 months. In a poll conducted immediately following the changeover in power, after the DPJ’s landslide election victory, public support for the DPJ stood at 31.8%, against 11.4% for the LDP. Thereafter, support for the DPJ rose to 39.6% in October and then immediately turned down, dropping all the way to 12.2% by April this year, as the DPJ allowed itself to be overtaken by the LDP. In June, in an effort to stem the downtrend, the DPJ changed its leader from Hatoyama to Kan. Although support for the DPJ then temporarily rose back to 32.8%, one could hardly expect that to last long. And, on July 11, right after the upper house elections, support for the DPJ had again dropped to 21.8%."
- "Now, with the upper house election past and the DPJ in frantic preparation ahead of its election for party president on September 14, public support for the party has risen to 33.4% in the most recent polls. Looking at the change in public support ratios over the five weeks since the election, the DPJ has risen by 11.6ppt, the LDP has fallen by 0.2ppt, and Your Party has fallen by 0.4ppt—the latter two being essentially unchanged. The major change in the polls has been in the “undecided” category: this category fell from 41.8% to 28.2%, a 13.6ppt drop. It seems that many “votes” moved from undecided to supporting the DPJ."
- "Figure 2 shows how these undecided voters have moved since the start of the Abe administration in September 2006. This is the first time the “undecided” category has fallen below 30%. The average level of the undecided category has been 42.6% over these four years, with a standard deviation of 5.6%. Thus, the fall below 30% is an anomaly. Perhaps this is the effect of calling a DPJ presidential election."

JPMorgan Japan Equity Strategy 20100831

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