There’s another election going on today (Dec. 16), for the Tokyo metropolitan governor’s office. Normally, it would be national news, even rating front page headlines on a slow day. Instead, it’s a near-forgotten afterthought to the same-day, House of Representatives general election, and that’s bad news for Akira Matsuzawa (as well as for the armful of thrill seekers who are willing to forfeit their deposits as consideration for airing their views in public), the capable former governor of neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture, who gave up running and supported Shintaro Ishihara when the latter decided to run for a fourth term in order to improve his son’s prospects to lead the LDP. A little over a year later, Ishihara resigns to help his seventy-something friends, tossed out of the LDP in 2005 by then-Prime Minister Koizumi, gain closure for their stunted political careers, giving Matsuzawa a second opportunity. However, Ishihara anoints Deputy Governor Naoki Inose, the reformist writer and a key member of the Koizumi reform team, his successor, and the HoR election sucks up most of the media attention, destroying any chance of Matsuzawa grabbing public attention and giving Inose an unimpeded path to victory.
I have no beef with Ishihara’s choice of Inose, given the latter’s reformist credentials. Still, it would have been nice to see how Matsuzawa would have measured up in a real race, as I think that he would have been a better campaigner than Inose.
As for the national referendum on the Supreme Court justices, that’s the first thing that I want Abe to scratch from his new constitution. It’s a total waste of taxpayers’ money and debases the notion of national referendums.