Nippon Ishin ‘Still Struggling Outside of Kansai’; Party Looks Toward New Strategy for Next Lower House Election

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Nippon Ishin leader Nobuyuki Baba

Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) candidates were defeated in the by-elections for the House of Representatives on Sunday. The party fielded candidates in Tokyo Constituency No. 15 and Nagasaki Constituency No. 3.

Party chief Nobuyuki Baba, speaking at a news conference in Osaka on Sunday night, said: “The results revealed our party’s true strength. It’s still difficult for us to win in a single-seat constituency outside of the Kansai region.”

Nippon Ishin aimed to expand its influence in areas outside Kansai, the party’s power base, and to give itself a boost toward its goal of taking the role as top opposition party in the next lower house election. However, it failed to attract voters critical of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration.

During the election campaign, the party tried to appeal to conservative voters by calling for political reforms and constitutional revision. It stepped up criticism against the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, questioning its cooperation with the Japanese Communist Party in the election.

After the campaign kicked off, Baba criticized the CDPJ’s response to discussions on political reforms: “The CDPJ isn’t going to do anything that is disadvantageous for them. We’re going to crush it.”

But in Tokyo Constituency No. 15, the party’s rookie candidate, who came third in the 2021 lower election, lost to the CDPJ candidate. Similarly, in Nagasaki Constituency No. 3, where the party faced-off with the CDPJ candidate, the Nippon Ishin candidate lost by a large margin, exposing the party’s fragile regional organization once again.

The party has been promoting the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo but is now drawing harsh criticism over the event’s ballooning construction costs.

“We’re currently facing adversity. We have to rethink our strategy heading toward the next lower house election,” a party executive said.