Only a small number has left, one by one, and with only a week until the campaign officially begins, presumably not many more will leave. The latest is Shimizu Seiichiro, who won a Tokyo PR seat in 2005 and opted to leave the party Monday. He is seeking to run as YP’s candidate in Tokyo’s twentieth district.
It is getting harder to see the YP having much impact on this election. Watanabe will win his seat in Tochigi, Eda Kenji will be reelected in Kanagawa-8, Asao Keiichiro may well be in a position to win in Kanagawa-4, but beyond the nascent party’s three heavyweights, the party’s candidates are unlikely to score victories in single-member districts. For the YP to have a strong showing, it needed to trigger a media “boom,” but it seems that in the excitement surrounding a likely DPJ victory on 30 August, the creation of the YP will be of marginal importance in this election. Perhaps in a close election three seats could be the deciding vote for a coalition government, but if the DPJ does as well as it appears it will do, the YP’s votes will be inconsequential.
It seems that the significance of the YP is in giving Koizumi children like Shimizu and Kanagawa-9 candidate Yamauchi Koichi another chance to win a Diet seat against long odds.