However, when turning to support for political parties, it is clear that the LDP has little to fear in terms of a backlash against their decision to go to the polls, with 31.2% of respondents expressing support for the LDP with another 3.8% in favour of the Komeito. The next closest challenger, the Party of Hope, languishes at 4.8%, with the Japanese Communist Party coming in behind the Komeito at 2.7%. At this rate the election looks as though it will follow current trends – lax voter interest, coupled with no real alternatives to the ruling parties’ policies, will inevitably lead to the re-election of the incumbent government. If change is to happen, then it will depend on whether any of the minor parties can persuade the 39.1% of respondents who have not expressed support for any particular party to suddenly shift their position. The numbers don’t suggest this is possible, but one can never rule out a surprise result.
What might raise a few voter hackles is the fact that there are 83 members of the House of Reps who have neither put forward any legislation nor asked any questions during the course of the year. When considering that each member of the House of Representatives earns an annual salary of 20 million yen, coupled with an extra 12 million yen per annum tax-free subsidy for “documentation, travel and accommodation”, the absence of any record of Diet activity by such representatives might be cause to doubt their motives for entering politics. While the inclusion of Ozawa Ichirō is more a reflection of his fall from popular grace (his party, the Liberal Party, is currently polling at 0% support among voters, and in its current form the Liberals are unlikely to garner any further public interest in their policies by October 22), and many members might involve themselves in activities for their respective parties without being active in the Diet, the presence of so many members devoid of achievements, or even an active voice, in the Diet serves as point of contention among voters regarding the usefulness of their elected representatives.