At 1pm today the voting participation rate in the Osaka City mayoral election was a full six percentage points up on the equivalent time in the last election, at 23.94% of eligible voters. (ja)
One would assume this bodes well for Hashimoto Toru and his plan to create a more streamlined and stronger “Osaka-to” region. If I was to hazard a guess it might be on the back of an increased youth vote as Hashimoto had very vigorous youth participation in his supporter groups. Polls close at 8pm. The youth participation rate was only 20% total in the previous election.
In other news Kamei turned out to be as deluded as expected. Not only did Hashimoto dismiss the idea without a second thought but Hiranuma Takeo, who Kamei assumed he could count on for his retro-conservative grand plan to create a third pole, humiliatingly dismissed the idea ridiculing Kamei as marching to his own tune. The smell of desperation is really stinking up Nagata-cho.
Update: At three pm the rate was 32%, an almost 9% point increase (ja)
My last days of my second trip to Japan were a brilliant dichotomy – between the typhoon in Tokyo and the brilliant weather that succeeded it in Yokohama afterwards. The Park Royal in Yokohama and the view also helped cement my feeling that Yokohama is quite a city. Anyone out there who lives there keen to comment?
My brief trip back has reinvigorated my enthusiasm for taking my studies, both political and linguistic, to the next level. Geeked out a bit on Japan TV both asinine, political and the asininenly political (or perhaps politically asinine?).
2 months and counting to PhD initiation.
I see the polls suggesting that Japanese are ultimately not optimistic about the DPJ making any changes floating around the internet a bit, and given the history of political failures this country has endured recently then that would be fair enough. However, speaking to people about the issue and whether politics will change, I do not get the expected “It would be great if they did…..but I doubt they will” but a “It will be great if they did…….” and a pause, maybe a brief pause of hoping to dare???
With the Hatoyama love fest on the media with his extremely ambitious speech regarding reducing emissions, it does not appear to me as if the country, both rural or otherwise seems to be overcome with a strangling sense of apathy. It would not surprise me if many watching the Hatoyama speech did not feel a bit of sense of pride at seeing him deliver in pretty good pronunciation wise, if stilted English, a speech that raises expectations that will probably not be met – but signals a potential leadership role for a country responsible for only 4% of these emissions and is already a leader in efficiency. It would be interesting to see where this goes. Sometimes being unrealistic (but not stupid) about important things ends up in some pretty interesting outcomes. I see this in my job every day.
Watching TV, they chose an interesting person to represent the “critical” view, with the Sudanese representative demanding that “words be translated into action”. Notwitstanding this response is almost as hollow as the words sometimes assailed by such a response in this day and age, I did have a WTF moment. Yes the General Assembly is a 1 vote 1 country “democratic” organisation, but can I get a “hey guy from a country where genocide and mass rape is a big issue – maybe you are not the best person to demand action on a “tricky” issue” over here.