Hirano Tatsuo, my apologies, you really do know Iwate Prefecture.
When you quit the Democratic Party of Japan in April, I thought the decision daft or at least confused (Link). However, when the smoke cleared from the circular firing squad this Sunday night, you were the one still standing. Omedeto!
You in Iwate and Itokazu Keiko (running with Social Democratic, People's Life, Green Breeze and Communist support, of all the lefty things) in Okinawa kept the Liberal Democratic Party from sweeping all of the single seat constituencies.
May the LDP send more former college rugby coaches to run against you in the future.
Democratic Party of Japan, congratulations. Seriously.
Everyone knew you were a goner in the single seat districts. Everyone knew you were in dire straits in the proportional seat voting.
However, in the two- and three-seat districts, your candidates toughed it out.
This was a bad election for you, the party garnering fewer votes in the proportional side of the ballot than the New Komeito. Still, third place is far from a full blown catastrophe. With a new leader (Yes, Mr. Kaieda Banri, your time, though brief, is up) and some decent candidates, the party can revive to serve as an honorable opposition.
[An aside, but the most wicked bon mot of the morning? The commentator on the Asa Zuba! wide show who cheerily suggested to DPJ bigwig Nagatsuma Akira, "Well, now that there are fewer of you, it should be easier to smooth over differences of opinion."]
Your Party and Japan Communist Party, what happened to your supposed juice? You, the opposite ends of Japan’s economic policy prescription spectrum with your shared contempt for the bureaucracy, you were supposed to be the havens of protest votes forced to run screaming from out of the wreckage of the DPJ.
In the end though, you both came up short, with 4.7 million and 5.1 million votes, respectively.
This was your big day, your opportunity to do some damage on the proportional side. Your performance, however, was only OK, with strong district candidates bailing you out in the end.
Social Democratic Party, you live! Of course, by losing one of the two seats you were defending, you are now down to five seats, meaning that while you are still considered a party in Diet, you are at the five member limit.
So you live to die another day.
Anti-nuclear activists Kira Yoshiko (JCP) and Yamamoto Taro (independent), you not only won district seats in Tokyo, but shoved Takemi Keizo, an LDP Washington insider running as the representative of the health care industry into the fifth and final slot. You both now have six years to harass the nuclear industry and its supporters from the inside, rather than cacophonously from without.
Zing! No, Double Zing!
[How can anyone resist having a young (she’s only 30) Communist woman senator whose name is pronounced “Killer”?]
Japan Restoration Party, they must like you in the Kansai. They must really, really like you. At 6.3 million proportional seat votes, you are effectively half as popular nationally as you were seven months ago. With everyone was writing you off, though, winning six proportional seats must feel good.
It has been hard not to notice, though, that your two top vote winners in the proportional vote were:
1) a professional wrestler close to the Pyongyang regime and an eager participant in that regime's propaganda actions and
2) the militant anti-Pyongyang former finance ministry bureaucrat who has fought, fought, fought to win freedom and justice for those abducted by the DPRK
That these two are your #1 and #2 in the proportional vote reflects what we can only call awesome party message coherence.
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