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.
With a big target like Olympics, we can truly transform Tokyo.
Part of the Olympics should be held in Tohoku
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.