Then there’s the other problem: These guys are old. Yosano is 71, and Hiranuma is 70. And the other are in descending order: 72 (Yoshio Nakagawa, House of Councilors), 68 (Hiroyuki Sonoda, House of Representatives), and 67 (Takao Fujii, House of Councilors). Count their days in full and they probably average out to 70, the mandatory retirement age for…the Japanese Supreme Court. Even if you happened to be one of the 2006 Post Office reform expellees whom Hiranuma helped rejoin the LDP, you wouldn’t want to join the Space Cowboys on this ride**. And they aren’t.
I do expect them to pick up a few seats in the July HoC general election though. I haven’t done the math, but I’m sure that the core supporters of the five Diet members plus whatever votes the candidates can muster on their own will be enough to get a share of the proportional seats. The Stand Ups are not going to be the media’s darlings of election 2010—that looks like the Your Party’s role—so I expect them to choose mainly Post Office reform expellees who failed to win seats in the 2006 election and local politicians, people who bring their own support base.
*To be fair, the reincarnation of the DPJ is also quite inclusive, the Hatoyama administration even more so. And going back in time, things didn’t get weirder than the Murayama Cohabitation.
**And christening the group as Stand Up Japan is the increasingly lame-duck, 77 years old Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara. Incidentally, Ishihara appears to agree with Yasuo Tanaka of Shinto Nippon (New Party Japan) in thinking that inverted names are cool, e.g. Shuto Daigaku Tokyo, (Tokyo Metropolitan University). Inversion does pack a punch in Japanese, but in this case has the feel of graying pols dying their hair. I think that Ishihara’s naming powers peaked at the subway Ōedo-sen. Now that’s a name with both historical and contemporary resonance.
Speaking of the name, do a google search in Japanese and the results begin with what appear to be mostly unkind blog posts, some of them using a pun not fit for a family-oriented blog. That is also an inauspicious sign.