In Okinawa, 55% of independents voted for Karimata Yoshimasa, the candidate backed by the DPJ and three other opposition parties, while 36% supported Shimajiri Aiko, backed by the LDP and Komeito. In Fukushima, the difference was even more pronounced, with 65% of independents supporting victorious DPJ candidate Mashiko Teruhiko, with the remainder split between LDP (16%) and JCP (13%) candidates.
While yesterday I said that it is too early to make solid predictions for July, if these by-elections signal the beginning of a shift by non-aligned voters to the DPJ, then July might ultimately prove disastrous for the Abe Cabinet and the LDP. That doesn’t mean that the DPJ can relax: quite the opposite. But if independents have begun turning away from the LDP, then the DPJ might have a major opportunity to win big and present itself as a serious contender for power.