You are the fantastically popular young mayor of a country's third largest city. You are widely credited with conjuring up an act of fiscal magic: you put the city back on a firm financial footing whilst improving the quality of service provided the residents. You are in your second term, basking in the glory of the city's celebration of the 150th anniversary of its opening to the outside world. What do you do?
Nakada Hiroshi, the man with the impossible resume - seriously when the heck did the man ever sleep? -- has offered his resignation as mayor of Yokohama. Rather than serve out the last few months of his term, he is asking the city council to schedule an election for his replacement to coincide with the House of Representatives election on August 30. Holding the two elections simultaneously, he reasons, will save the city money and will guarantee a high degree of voter turnout for the mayoral election, far higher than if the election were held at the end of his term in the spring.
What a civic minded fellow! I mean really, I'm flummoxed. I cannot say the least bad thing about him.
Nakada is not going to run in the House of Representatives election, as some guessed he might (Why should he? He has already served three term in the Diet). Instead he is talking about plans to build an organization extending the kinds of reform he managed to enact in Yokohama to the prefectures and the national government.
When an electoral shoo-in like Nakada takes a leap like this into the unknown, it is just one more indication that postwar system is on the verge of final, precipitous collapse. Persons of vision, ambition and energy are jostling for position in a new, still amorphous order, whilst members of the ancien regime spout nonsense about their conspicuous lack of achievements.
Everyone but everyone is jumping in the pool, making waves, splashing about.
It is going to be a fun summer.
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