Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tokyo Gubernatorial Race Descending into a Whole Lot of Mess

Farce, you may say.

Titbits from the candidates and their supporters, from Sankei Shinbun (1/14/2014) and Nikkei Shinbun (1/15/2014):

1. Who is more like the "leader"? The one who's not running.

Morihiro Hosokawa, after meeting with ex-LDP PM Koizumi and declaring his candidacy on his birthday:


"To deal with nuclear power plant issues is a very worthwhile job for me as a governor."

Junichiro Koizumi, after meeting with ex-PM Hosokawa and being asked why he was supporting Hosokawa:


"If Tokyo shows it can survive [and prosper] without nuclear power plants, it can definitely change the whole nation."

For Mr. Koizumi (pictured right), January 14 was not Hosokawa's birthday, but the day, in the old lunar calendar (December 14), when 47 samurais took revenge on behalf of their lord who in their minds suffered injustice. Lunar December 14 is not January 14, but that's how Koizumi felt anyway.

Koizumi projects a future vision, while Hosokawa doesn't. The former lasted 5 years as the prime minister, the latter 9 months. Oh well.

2. Who is "anti-nuclear"? Just about everybody now (except for the ex-Chief of Staff of the Air Self Defense Force).

Yoichi Masuzoe and LDP backing him are scrambling to make the nuclear power issue a non-issue in the election. Masuzoe, who has been pro-nuclear, now says:

"I have always been saying zero nuke plant."

meaning he is all for gradually lessen the dependency on nuclear power. Prime Minister Abe chimes in from Ethiopia that he is hoping that the debate will be well-balanced, not just about the nuclear issue. As Mr. Koizumi remains popular and influential within LDP, the Abe administration officials are very reluctant to accuse Koizumi of "treason".

3. Anti-nuclear candidate Kenji Utsunomiya and his supporters in disarray (already)

Clearly, Mr. Utsunomiya and his political backers (Japanese Communist Party and Social Democratic Party) didn't expect the entry of Morihiro Hosokawa in the race with the backing from Junichiro Koizumi, who has been quite vocal in his anti-nuclear message of late.

Social Democrats are trying to back out from supporting him, saying the anti-nuclear faction should rally behind Hosokawa. Social Dems bet too early, I suppose.

Mr. Utsunomiya himself is accusing Mr. Koizumi for forcing a single-issue campaign.

Some people ask, "What about yourself, Mr. Utsunomiya?"

4. Who is for 2020 Tokyo Olympic? Everyone.

Yoichi Masuzoe:


With a big target like Olympics, we can truly transform Tokyo.

Morihiro Hosokawa:


Part of the Olympics should be held in Tohoku

Kenji Utsunomiya:


Simple, and environmentally-friendly Olympics

The official start of the election campaign is on January 23, and the election will be held on February 9.


Anonymous said...

So they are all for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Fools!

Anonymous said...

Give them a break. They might have been against holding the Olympics one year ago, but the Olympics are set to be held in Tokyo, so how could they possibly say they are against the Olympics and have any hope of getting elected? The mayor of Tokyo cannot be against the event which the city is obliged to host now.

Anonymous said...

Don't want to continually harp on the negative, but all the fellas pictured look to need a back-to-nature break, take a month off and re-connect.

That, and phase out the cedar plantations already.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how politicians become anti-nuke, from Mr Abe's wife to Koizumi.
Time will tell how thats effective.
As for the Olympics, I like to imagine what Pierre de Coubertin (*) would have said - it's difficult, as he was a controverted man - his wiki page in English is not that cute.
But I'd like to fancy he would have said : The Olympics can wait ! Woted or not. There's a big problem somewhere in the North-East. Let's gather our strenghes, monies, and internationnal technological help to deal with this mess !
But it seems Japanese people are more willing "panem et circences".
Or so it seems to the politicians.

(*) Coubertin = Copertino in Italian.
Since smile / laugh don't have really been taken over by new decontamination / protection devices, may I recommend this reading by Blaise Cendrars, St Joseph de Copertino, Inventeur de l'Aviation Moderne.
The would-be saint friar Joseph wasn't exactly a clever man, but had supposedly extraodinary skills in levitation. Thus his dubbing by Cendrars as the Father of Modern Aviation.
A witty tale about this reversed figure of Icarius, if not Prometheus, and as far as I remember, there's not even a single word a Christian would feel offensed about, would he has a little sense of humour, that is.
This novel is often published as 1/3 parts of "Le lotissement du ciel" that's been translated in English in 1992.


Unknown said...

North-East. Let's gather our strenghes, monies, and internationnal technological help to deal with this mess

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