Saturday, November 10, 2012

Election Time Near in Japan?

As if anyone cares. Japan is broken as a nation, probably has been for the past decade at least, and people continue to pretend as if they are in a nation called Japan.

This is after all a country which held a nation-wide local election right after the nuclear accident in March 2011, to keep up the appearance that everything was in order. People dutifully went outside to listen to the speeches by political candidates as the radioactive fallout from the broken reactors in Fukushima descended on half the country.

I will go out on a limb and say the Democratic Party of Japan and/or its coalition will win. Why? Because the opposition is a mess. I think it is a very good timing if Prime Minister Noda actually calls a general election toward the end of the year and the election in January - traditionally busiest time of the year in Japan in particular, and ordinary citizens have little time for politics.

And whichever party wins, it will further centralize power to the national government. That's what the citizens want anyway. After the March 11, 2011 disaster and the horrendous response to the disaster from all levels of the government, people continue to express hope and belief that "If only the right people are in the government, to take care of us!"

First will be the election of the governor of Tokyo in early December, the position Shintaro Ishihara recently vacated a year and a half after his re-election in 2011. Potential candidates?

  • Naoki Inose, current vice governor with strong endorsement from Mr. Ishihara. Mr. Inose wants to re-institute the draft so that he can send young workers to Fukushima I Nuke Plant for decontamination and decommission. Like Ishihara, he is all for burning the disaster debris, and was very disappointed when NY Mayor Bloomberg canceled New York Marathon.

  • Yoichi Masuzoe, a political science professor and well-known TV personality turned politician, is likely to be backed by DPJ and LPD, among others;

  • Kenji Utsunomiya, a progressive attorney who is supposedly anti-nuclear but has made donations to politicians like Yukio Edano and Yoshito Sengoku. Mr. Utsunomiya has formally declared he will run. Political parties on the left and Communist Party have expressed support, as well as Ichiro Ozawa's party.

If Mr. Masuzoe enters, he will probably win handily.

Then, the rumor has it that Noda has decided to dissolve the Diet and call for the general election in late December, after he passes the bill to issue more Japanese government bonds (JGB) to fund the government operation (Japan does not have the "debt ceiling" like the US, because, well what's the point?) and declares the official start of negotiations to join TPP, a NAFTA-like trade pact for the Pacific Rim nations pushed by the Obama administration.

For a prime minister who compared himself as a point-guard and Obama as "power forward", mimicking the US president comes extremely natural. In Japan however, anything that is going to please the US is considered the "right wing" thingy, and Mr. Noda has been accused of being the lapdog of the imperial US.

Liberal Democratic Party is neither "liberal" or "democratic", what distinguishes them from the Democratic Party of Japan (not "democratic" either from how they behave) is the different figurehead at the top who likes curry rice with pork cutlet on top. DPJ's coalition partner Komei Party will collaborate with anyone in power.

So who's left? Communist Party, Democratic Socialist Party, and numerous small leftist parties. On the right side of the spectrum, there's a nascent "ultra-right" coalition around 80-year-old Ishihara, and 44-year-old boy wonder mayor of Osaka.

The "ultra-right" coalition wants TPP, nuclear power plants, burn the disaster debris, raise taxes even more, and cooperate with the US more. So what's the difference between this party and DPJ or LDP? None.

There is Ichiro Ozawa's party, "We Put Citizens' Lives First", which the MSM almost completely ignores. When it doesn't ignore, it either mocks or vilifies. For the majority of the Japanese who are not much on the net, the party doesn't exist.

Greens? What is that? They won't get my vote with the slogan like this: "エコでフェアでピースな世界をめざして" (for the world that is "eco" (ecologically correct), "fair" and "peace", with words in quotations in transliterated Japanese)

Ah life is back to normal finally in Japan. Everything is the same, and nothing matters.

What could matter is the gigantic amount of total government liability of 983 trillion yen, but many in Japan declare "We owe it to ourselves, not a problem."

As if printing money is the same as creating wealth.


Anonymous said...

very good overview of the current political situation in japan...i totally agree with you.

Since I'm a foreigner i cant vote anyway but if I could I would vote for the communists, because it is the only party who clearly says it doesn't want any nuclear plant. Each time I see a poster in the streets against nuclear plants, it comes from them.
Besides , with TEPCO being nationalized, we might as well ask the guys who understand this to lead the country.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article from the Japan Times:

Candidate deposit requirement guarantees same faces on the ballot

If Japan wants a green party or ex-skf party or whatever other new party you want, someone will need to find a few million dollars just to pay the deposits needed to get a full slate of candidates on the ballot. Is there anyone out these with deep pockets who is willing to help with this?

We sure could use a white knight or two to provide the funding for a new party.

Anonymous said...


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