Abstract: Among the regional parties that have emerged in Japan against a background of prevalent voter disillusionment with national politics, by far the most prominent and successful example is One Osaka (Osaka Ishin no kai), which won both the 2011 gubernatorial and mayoral elections (‘double elections’) in Osaka against rivals backed by both major national parties before expanding into a national party. The present study attempts to place this party in a comparative context and analyses a voter survey to test the extent to which party support is attributable to political alienation, local factors, policy stances and favourable views of candidates. Results show that backing for One Osaka was based less on issue preferences or general disaffection with national politics, but instead motivated primarily by positive attitudes towards its candidates, particularly the party leader. The article also traces the party's expansion into national politics, compares its leadership with regional parties in other countries and discusses its future prospects.
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