Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where The Crazies Are

In the weekly The Tokyo Diplomat (subscription service) Michael Penn points out that fretting over Abe Shinzo's provocative foreign policy and economic prescriptions ignores the other elephant in the room: the return or accession to the Diet, via the protest and regional pride vote for the Japan Restoration Association, of a coterie of radical revisionists too hard line for even for the Liberal Democratic Party.

Ishihara Shintaro
Nishimura Shingo
Yamada Hiroshi
Nakayama Nariaki

Add to the above the Democratic Party of Japan's Matsubara Jin, returned to the Diet via his double listing on the proportional list and a close second-place finish to Ishihara's "other son" Hirotaka (What the blazes is going on in Tokyo District #3?) and you have as fine a bag of nuts as can be acquired at Yuletide.

Once the presidential contest in South Korea ends, the South Korean news media will turn their gaze upon the incoming Diet.

Ignition. Combustion. Explosion.

Janne Morén, in one of his sadly too infrequent posts on politics, this week expressed concern that the arithmetic of Japanese elections, where a party can win 61% of the seats in the House of Representatives with the support of less than 25% of the electorate in the district vote and 16% of the electorate in the proportional vote, means that "a populist, far-right xenophobic party could well capitalise on the same political weakness." (Link)

Herr Morén, your fear has already been realized.


Troy said...

People in the USA desiring a third choice point at their two-party system as requiring constitutional remedies, but I point to how fragmenting the opposition just results in worse weirdness, like in Canada and now Japan again.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

What are the chances Japan will get its act together this decade?

By 2020 the relatively small postwar baby boom will have turned 70.

Simon said...

MTC, being a terrible Australian I'm used to elections being conducted using preferential (or "instant-runoff") voting, and am convinced that the first step every country that still clings to the first-past-the-post system needs to take is to adopt our glorious system which completely does away with the idea of "wasting one's vote".

If such reforms were made in Japan, what effects would you expect to see in the formation of governments?

MTC said...

Troy -

Patience is a virtue and virtues are hard.

Simon -

First one would have to convince those elected through a first-past-the-post system to make the electoral system fairer. As we saw in the lead-up to the December 16 election, the Supreme Court cannot convince this bunch of political primadonnas to make the election system constitutional!