Thursday, November 22, 2012

That Other Election

On December 16, voters in the Tokyo Metropolitan District will be choosing not only their representatives in the Diet, but a replacement for former governor Ishihara Shintaro.

Contrary to my expectations, and happily so, Inose Naoki (Link -J) has declared himself a candidate. While Ishihara bathed in the klieg lights and, to be fair, wasted his golden years in the unpleasant business of attending events in all kinds of weather, clowning on demand and meeting awful people at all hours of the day, Inose has been toiling away, underappreciated, as the person keeping the lights on, the toilets flushing and the trains running.

Inose will be running with official support from the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito. He is also expected to win support from the Your Party and the Japan Restoration Association. The DPJ, taking a look at the lay of the political landscape, has decided against burning a potential winning House of Representatives candidate or spending any money in the Tokyo race.

Inose's fellow candidates are not all pushovers and jokers -- yes, Dr. Nakamats, who proudly posts his IgNobel Prize as the first item on his profile page -- Link - J -- is running again. Matsuzawa Shigefumi (Link -J) is a former governor of Kanagawa, Japan's #2 prefecture. Sasagawa Takashi (Link - J) is a former Cabinet minister and chairman of the LDP General Council with deep ties to the old downtown establishment.

However, the other candidates lack Inose's gravitas and experience (and at 77, Sasagawa may be too old). They also lack significant party support.

The vote should be a rout.

The best and most unlikely buddy act in local administration is no more -- but the voters in the TMD can at least still cast a ballot for the guy who did all the heavy lifting.

Later - The NHK morning newscast, in an almost-but-not-quite-hilarious false dichotomy, asked the question, "What do the voters want, a continuation of the Ishihara administration, or a new face?"

Amusing because what the voters will be choosing to reject or not is not a continuation of the Ishihara administration but the continuation of the Inose administration, minus the Ishihara vanity project disasters (moving Tsukiji, the Tokyo Tomin Bank, the 2016 Olympics bid, buying the infinitum).


mt-i said...

Not a word about Utsunomiya Kenji? One candidate has his heart in the right place for once.

MTC said...

mt-i -

Utsunomiya Kenji may have been the lawyer fighting for the victims of many high profile cases and may have a Facebook page, a Twitter stream and a one A4 page, double-sided glossy brochure. Were the TMD electorate in a "throw the bums out" mood after years of mismanagement, he would be a viable candidate. However, while the rest of the country flails about, coughing up blood, the TMD is humming along, growing ever more dense and wealthy. Despite the increased crowding, public services have improved -- a state of affairs in no small part due to Inose's management.

There is little demand for the change of direction Utsunomiya purports to be.