Sunday, December 02, 2012

Open-Ended Questions regarding Anti-Nuclear Voters

It’s been a while since the questions were posted in the comments, so here they are, and my answers to them.

“How serious a force are those who don't want nuclear power in Japan?

I wonder myself. Specifically, how large is the proportion of Japanese voters for whom that is the overriding issue? And what proportion of those people believe that it’s okay to let the nuclear power plants operate for another ten years when they’ve seen the nation go without nuclear power and without power outages for the relatively hot 2012 summer?

“Where else do they have to turn but the Japan Future Party?

That is a good question, or was until Kada’s own position became clearer. Now, the Social Democrats, or the Communist Party?

“Perhaps you have underestimated Ozawa.

That is always possible. He can surprise me by ghaving more than half of his 62 candidates running for reelection back in the House of Representatives when the Diet reconvenes in January.


Philippe said...

Do you factor in the protest vote in your analysis?

(protest vote against the DPJ from people for whom the LDP isn't option anyway, and for whom the Hashimoto-Ishihara Sr circus isn't really attractive)

Hashimoto is the biggest negative surprise so far. He's twisting and turning on all sides, giving the impression he only aims for having a national party, no matter what it represents (and empty bento box?). I wonder how long that party will hold together comes January, btw.

Jun Okumura said...


I did give a lot of thought to your first question. There are the issues (nuclear power, TPP, and, narrowly defined, consumption tax hike) and the more general governance and leadership issues. I ultimately felt that the figurehead-of-convenience arrangement would not help Ozawa much in attracting the anti-LDP/DPJ vote. Governor Kada’s so-far disappointing performance, as presaged by the Japanese political scientist, can be attributed partly to her lack of experience with the 24/7 media scrutiny that a national political campaign. I’m also guessing that she is one of those people who have been able to escape tight corners with a certain kind of personal appeal. But that makes these people vulnerable when they try to take the next step up. I think with hindsight that her best bet was to join the Your Party and its antinuclear platform. A different set of policies in the other areas, but I doubt that this would have been a problem for Kada.

Personally, I am surprised and disappointed with Hashimoto’s gyrations in accommodating Ishihara. The boundaries between the LDP, DPJ, and JRP are even less clear now, if not necessarily on policies across the board, on policymaking. The Party of Japan’s Future is likewise a makeshift contraption cobbled together for election purposes too. The Your Party rightly complains and I do feel sorry for those folks. They are the poor man’s Mitt Romney. I wouldn’t write off the Hashimoto-Ishihara arrangement any time soon though. Hashimoto was clearly the BMOC, the high school quarterback, and Ishihara was the homecoming queen. And great sex cancels out a lot of negatives. And of course the other kids made out amongst themselves. Here, I am totally going metaphorical, of course.