And they're off (suitable bugle sounds)!
The lists of candidates are set, the sound trucks are fully fueled and the populace is awake and alert! On with the show!
The rough-and-tumble action started a day early in Gifu, when the four candidates the Gifu #1 district gathered for a debate. Sato Yukari, whom when we saw her last was being left with nothing in her hand but air during a photop with Gifu Mayor Hosoe Shigemitsu, had her first meeting with Gifu's preeminent lady legislator and resolute rebel, Noda Seiko.
In contrast to the "no-hands" rule at Hosoe's office, Noda greeted her rival by graciously extending her hand even before the two could bow to one another. Noda proceeded to pump Sato's hand up and down while grinning the warmest grin and jabbering like the pair were soul sistahs from way back.
Sato was bowled away by this incredibly disciplined show of goodsportswomanship. After many smiles and much empty talk, Sato began to pull her arm back in order to settle down for the debate. Noda kept shaking away and bubbling along. It was then than Sato realized she had been tricked into accepting the infamous Death Grip of Eternal Amity and that smiles, bows, multiples flexes of the biceps and triceps and a waiting audience not withstanding, she was not going to be getting her hand back any time soon.
Such is the fate of the hotshot banker turned political novice in the hands of a genetically programmed political animal.
You say yes...
I would discount the rumor that one of the opposition political parties is negotiating with Michael Jackson for the right to use “Hello Goodbye” by the Beatles as an anti-Koizumi theme song...though singing the first verse of the song out loud makes clear why such a rumor might arise.