Monday, June 08, 2009

Expecting Low Voter Turnout in Upcoming General Election

In the first decades of the 1955 System, voter turnout hovered in the low 70s to the high 60s. It gradually declined, falling to the low 60s, high 50s, and the Koizumi years brought no exceptions. I expect the upcoming Lower House general election to follow suit. The vast number of undecideds this close to the event (as well as the high number of people who reject Yukio Hatayama even before he’s had a chance) is a measure of the lack of public enthusiasm for the DPJ. No matter; the rumored campaign slogan for the DPJ—Regime Change (政権交代)—can only reinforce the impression that the Japanese electorate is so fed up that it will accept change for change’s sake, and that the DPJ is well aware of this fact. It’s let the bear catch the hindmost.

I expect to wait another election cycle or two before I see a real paradigm shift in the Japanese body politic at the policy end.


Matt at anarchyjapan (aka Matt Dioguardi) said...

Think about it though. Japan exports to America, and reinvests in American Treasury bonds. Isn't that the real paradigm, here?

Japan keeps a fairly vague stance (with meaningless rumblings of nationalism), while America does the heavy lifting diplomatically for Japan. Isn't that the real paradigm here?

There's a speech on-line where Abe praises Japan's new two party system, and indirectly the growing opposition. Strange, if he were really ideologically driven, who cares about how many parties there are? Oh, well, gee, America has a two party system, so that must be good.

Although I don't agree with him on all the specifics, in general, I agree with Gavan McCormack, that Japan is a _Client State_. We won't see seismic changes in Japan until the relationship with America seriously stumbles and/or collapses.

A lot will depend on how the continuing economic crisis plays itself out, and the value of the dollar. Say if the dollar suddenly dropped to about 40 yen to the dollar. That would make Japanese politics very lively over night.

Until something happens, well, not much is gonna happen. Of course, you knew that, didn't you?

Jun Okumura said...

Matt: My response was too long for a comment (only 4,096 characters allowed) so I posted it here.