Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Message from Yokosuka: None of the Above

Recent local elections have tended to reinforce the dominant message from the public opinion polls: the Japanese electorate doesn’t like the LDP. The Sunday mayoral election in Yokosuka confirmed a less prominent but equally potent finding in the polls: the powerful pull of none of the above. The 64 year-old incumbent had everything going for him: the LDP and DPJ both supported him—likewise the New Komeito—and local-boy-made-good Koizumi campaigned hard for him. The winner? Yuto Yoshida, a 33 year-old municipal assemblyman. The Communist-Social Democrat candidate, with less than 2% of the votes, was not a factor. There does not seem to have been any single outstanding issue except the evils of incumbency.

Yoshida has a good chance of joining the ranks of the mayors and governors—Governor Hashimoto in Osaka and Mayor Nakata in Yokohama for starters—recent past and present to whom the Japanese electorate will look to for national leadership if it finds a DPJ-led administration lacking in inspiration. In which case the mainstream media is sure to pile on.

Incidentally, this is very bad news for Koizumi’s son, who wants to take over his father’s seat.


Get A Job, Son! said...

It is a very interesting time in Japan politics, even for the lay-person like myself. The current influx of 'non-politicans' (Hashimoto, Higashikokubara et al) and other 'local' candidates must be viewed by the LDP and DPJ as a major threat (perhaps spelt out in letters 20ft high?).
The question though is.. can they see it?

As to Koizumi's son, would he still not be in reciept of some the remaining good-will toward his father that stil lingers in Japan?

Jun Okumura said...

GAJS: It doesn’t really matter whether they understand it or not. It the wave is high enough, it will sweep away the status quo, if not, the rest of us’ll just have to await the next new black and hope for the best.

Koizumi’s son enjoys the reflection from his father’s legacy. That’s the only reason he’s able to stand for election. But he’s also up against a huge backwash. He has to hope that his DPJ opponent is singularly unattractive.