"I live in Yokosuka, which is pretty much in the shutoken but which has some of the features of a rural economy/rural politics. The new recession has been very visible here-the shotengai at the main train station is half-shut most of the time, and is covered with for-let signs. The company I am supposed to send my rent to sent me a bankruptcy notice about a week ago. Every restaurant (Yokosuka has too much commerce, a legacy of the base) has about four customers who never vary-but sometimes the number goes down to zero.
Yokosuka doesn't look like Detroit, it's true. It probably won't get that way. But what's strange to me is that the bad economy is seen as the best argument for the LDP by a lot of people. When the economy is bad, you need people in high places to look out for you as a fixer, and because the base is part of the economic security of the town, nobody wants to think of alternative ways of maintaining national security. (Despite being Koizumi's hometown, Yokosuka is mostly old-LDP: for example, the Nihon Kaigi has almost no presence there compared to "liberal" places nearby like Fujisawa.)
Why doesn't anything change? Nobody really believes that a bad economy will radically change anything-it will just make the stuff that's kind of miserable about the town worse. And I can't think of what it would take to do more than that-a lot of the identity of the town has evaporated already. It'll just end up being a little bit more like some anonymous low-end bed town in saitama."
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