politics

Japan's ruling coalition secures upper house majority

57 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi and Kaori Hitomi

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Wouldn't it be great if Japanese people had the intellectual motivation to question their government instead of constantly voting in the same morons that get little to nothing done?

27 ( +35 / -8 )

“A voter who identified himself only as a company worker in his 40s said he chose a candidate and a party that have demonstrated an ability to get things done, suggesting he voted for Abe's ruling party and its candidate, as "there is no point in casting my vote for a party or a politician who has no such abilities."

Partisan bull dust at its finest!

22 ( +24 / -2 )

He has prioritized revitalizing Japan's economy and has steadily bolstered the country's defenses in the backdrop of North Korea's missile and nuclear threats and China's growing military presence. He also has showcased his diplomatic skills by cultivating warm ties with President Donald Trump.

Oh, hogwash. His arrows are broken. Both NK and China are not impressed. His friendship with Trump is about to be tested. That the LDP didn't obtain the 2/3 super-majority is a blessing for the majority of voters who oppose his proposed constitutional changes. May we never revert to pre-war military hysteria.

18 ( +23 / -5 )

Abe's going to have some backlash from this election. The sitting PM from Akita, an LDP member, got beat, even after Abe visited twice in the last few days, along with Suga and Aso as well. It wasn't enough to win.

This along with loses and the inability to get the 2/3rds majority are going to be problems for Abe in the near future!

While there was no real chance for the opposition to win, at least they kept Abe from getting the 2/3rd's and THAT is a major victory in my books!

22 ( +24 / -2 )

He has prioritized revitalizing Japan's economy 

Who else here is sick and tired of the same propaganda coming out here? Any other politician who would be regurgitating the same BS would be out on the arse!

Abe may very well go down as the longest serving PM in history here, but that does not mean he accomplished anything in his time in office.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

The fact is that most Japanese are asked (by their companies or affiliates) to vote for certain candidates according to possible advantages that are perceived.

We got the phone call 1 week before this election.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

The media have been bleating on about the LDP winning, so people voted LDP but not all and many just didn't vote. A victory is hollow when there is no competition and the crowd aren't interested.

But it nice to see old men excited about......nothing.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Sorry not nothing they continue to monthly collect Salerys that takes a average worker a year to get. Good job. Not like they are responsible for anything in particular.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

What majority ? It is an International joke to call less than 30% a majority.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

So much for the prediction of 2/3 majority.

A poster yesterday commented "na na na na na we're getting that 2/3 majority, constitutional reform here we come".. his comment has now been deleted.

A good result.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

only in Japan can a party promise to raise taxes and revise the constitution to send military overseas against the people's will and still win elections. It's crazy....

20 ( +23 / -3 )

What majority ? It is an International joke to call less than 30% a majority.

At least there was a vote, unlike in China.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

@Akie

The coalition holds 139 seats vs opposition 96, it's a big majority for a robust democracy like Japan. They are only 7 votes short of the 2/3 majority to change the constitution. IMHO, they'll most likely secure the extra seven votes from conservative opposition with a bit of pork barrelling.

In any case look forward to a hike in sales tax, and probably nothing in salary now.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Happy the super majority wasn't reached.But that's about it.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Good to see the CDP (with its higher poportion of female candidates doing so well). Is Japan shaking off its old men in dark clubs scene?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am glad Tachibana the representative of "The Party that Protect People from NHK" won the seat. The party proposes NHK to use scrambling to those who do not want to pay TV watching fee to NHK.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Sh1mon M4sada, how many Japanese people voted for the majority  139 ? Your majority doesn't represent majority people, a fake majority, a cheating majority, a joke majority.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Abe said resolving the decades-old issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea and signing a peace treaty with Russia would be his diplomatic priorities during the rest of his term.

And along with his dream of changing the constitution to go look for trouble flailing too,what has the dropkick actually achieved whilst in office?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Nonetheless, Abe welcomed the results, saying winning a majority indicates a public mandate for his government.

The LDP got 57 seats out of 124 with a 49% voter turnout. So you got less than half the votes from the less than half people who bothered to vote. Not exactly what I would call a "public mandate".

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Your majority doesn't represent majority people, a fake majority, a cheating majority, a joke majority.

The Chinese government doesn't represent any of its citizens because they cannot vote for their leaders. It's a fake government, a cheating government, a joke government.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Sh1mon M4sada, how many Japanese people voted for the majority 139 ? Your majority doesn't represent majority people, a fake majority, a cheating majority, a joke majority.

As compared to the Chinese government that only represents itself?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Akie

A good reading may shed some light where there's a penumbra. Or is it total darkness?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmauldin/2017/02/08/the-leading-power-in-east-asia-will-be-japan-not-china/#253419142463

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well, the election is now over and you voted as I expected Japan. You will reap what you sow. trump said that he would hold off on tariff talks until after the election, well, let's see how Abe's "friendship" turns out on this one. 10% hike in consumption tax, and escalation heating up in the Persian Gulf. Keep an eye out on crude prices. If trump comes down hard on the tariffs be ready for two body blows and a good right hook to the head. Tariffs, consumption tax, and high crude prices. Thank you LDP.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Given that the LDP have always relied upon the 2:1 voter disparity between the cities and the countryside, it's hard to perceive this as a mandate from the people. Had the voting boundaries been fairly placed, this majority would probably have equalled less than half of the seats.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Wouldn't it be great if Japanese people had the intellectual motivation to question their government 

And a country with intellectual prowess elected Trump.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No, it wasn't a public mandate for him!

Low voter participation, people who don't care (any more) ..... that's the road to his "success"!

Expect things to become even worse than they are now.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Chip StarToday  06:32 am JST

Wouldn't it be great if Japanese people had the intellectual motivation to question their government instead of constantly voting in the same morons that get little to nothing done?

I think a lot of them do have that motivation, maybe even most of them. However the elections system is broken in such a way that getting the votes of an over-represented minority is enough for the LDP to win.

HeckleberryToday  07:02 am JST

So much for the prediction of 2/3 majority.

I know. "Go for that two-thirds majority PM Abe, you can do it!" Except that he couldn't do it. Obviously Abe isn't as popular or talented a politician as some would have us believe.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Congratulations. Here’s to following the trend of the last 70 years looking like the next 70 years.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Given that the LDP have always relied upon the 2:1 voter disparity between the cities and the countryside, it's hard to perceive this as a mandate from the people. Had the voting boundaries been fairly placed, this majority would probably have equalled less than half of the seats.

The main constituency of the LDP has for the most part been the people in the country NOT the cities. The farmers, JA, the Marine Fisheries Collectives, the folks getting huge subsidies thanks to the LDP policies, and let's not forget the proportional representation cluster-fruck that the LDP came up with Hosokawa. Which came about because of a number of court cases against the system that was in place.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

May be Abe feels good in his heart that his party and companies didn't reach the super majority in the upper house. Because he knows the difficulties to amend the article 9 of the constitution practically. He will continue to pretend that he has made efforts to do that for his supporters. But actually he has aimed the soft landing of his longest flight as the Japanese prime minister.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abenator - Dark Fate

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Contrary to popular belief, LDP is not a popular party, in fact, it is extremely unpopular as indicated by the fact that, only around 30% of a less than 50% of the general population votes for LDP, meanwhile, people who say they do not support any party are about 60% of the population. When you have a very unpopular party winning over and over again, while 60% of people saying they do not like LDP, you have to ask yourself, why isn't the opposition winning, and why is LDP winning? You have to look at structural problems within the system for the answer, not blame people's apathy.

The fundamental problem in the system is the strong fiscal centralization, which leads to Clientelism, which leads to opposition candidates losing local and sub-national elections, which in tern leads them to also lose the national elections. It's a vicious cycle. You can't win national elections without winning local, but you can't win local without holding power at national.

About 80% of government spending in Japan is done on a local level by the prefectures, however, only 35% of the prefectural budget comes from local taxes, the rest of the money comes from the central government. So this means the national government redistributes the money it collects from local taxes back to the prefectures. Obviously such a centralized approach to financing would result in Clientelism -- redistribution by party line.

Local politicians who are part of LDP get funding from the national government, they build stuff or spend the money for their local constituency, which in turn builds them reputation and name-recognition, which then wins them local elections over an opposition candidate who doesn't have name recognition, and has never "done" anything for them. If a prefecture or local constituency is run by someone not part of the LDP, they may not get funding, at least that's the fear among people, and that fear often leads them to want to support LDP members so they can keep the money flow going. That's also why when you see candidate posters, all you see is the name of the person and the name of the party, that's all people need to know, and when these candidates cruise around in their mini vans, all they do is propagate their name and their party, and what have they "build" or spend on their region.

Opposition candidates usually do better in prefectures that are a little bit less dependent on the national government, such as Okinawa and Hokkaido, and also urban areas, however, rural areas in Japan are entirely run on a Clientelistic model.

So, what's the solution? Simple - fiscal decentralization. Compare Japan with America. In America, over 80% of States budgets are funded by local and State-taxes, some, like North Carolina, are even up to 90% funded by various State taxes. This fiscal autonomy gives them political autonomy. Candidates aren't depended on the ruling party in the federal government funding their State, so they can focus on running on issues, as oppose to running just to secure the federal funding by name recognition.

Japanese prefectures need to be at least over 50% funded by local taxes to avoid fiscal dependency on the national government. The opposition running on issues will not win them elections, because issues are not what matters, central funding is what matters to most people, that's how the system is designed.

In a Democracy, political competition is just as important as market competition. Market centralization plus political centralization is the definition of tyranny. Just as having separation of power so the 3 branches can self-balance each other, having separation between States/Prefectures and central government is also important for them to balance each other.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Abe didn't get his super majority so no complaints from me.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Oh, gee, failed to change the constitution.

Guess Abe, heir to a war criminal clan, will just have to wait until next year for Pearl Harbor II.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Young people need to mobilize for the Reiwa Shinsengumi party unless they want a military dictatorship in the future.

Seriously, if Abe can bring about militaristic changes in the constitution, he also has a policy where ha can declare an “emergency” and have total control of the countries spending, and not even report on what he’s spending on!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I love coffee. You are right structural reforms are the key for the future. But the LDP can not fathom a change that makes them actually even try to help the population.

New Zealand broke the mold changed how citizens vote, now has a government that represents its population. A government that is part of society rather then seperate. Australia can't do it America can't do it, sadly Japan can't do it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Although Abe didn't quite reach the 2/3 needed to institute constitutional revision, you can be sure Shifty Suga's Slush Fund will be used to bribe four "opposition" politicians to vote with the LDP.

It surprised me that over 40% of under 30s voted LDP. They are the ones who will be forced into the army if Abe gets his way. Don't they realise that in the army they won't be allowed to fiddle with their phones all day and will be crawling around in the mud instead?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

He has prioritized revitalizing Japan's economy

Same old Abe guff! We've been hearing this for nearly a decade and things are getting worse.

Less than 50% voter turnout tells you a lot about apathetic Japan.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

My question: Democracy suits Japan?

Japan did not choose democracy. It was imposed on Japan. They may have better adopt monarchy or one-party fascism by amending the constitution.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

SJ you actually think monarchy or one party fascism is a choice? The last 70+ years has been one party fascism. There is no democracy so no adopting demecracy there has never been any. Same Intilteled families wringing as much cash out of the population as they can while smiling. Democracy was never imposed.

You seem to think it's a democracy! Imposed I would beg to differ what choice is there.....none.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Wouldn't it be great if Japanese people had the intellectual motivation to question their government...?

Certainly, but, as we all know, the destruction of intellectual motivation begins early with Japanese education and really kicks in with junior high school and the onset of puberty when young minds are rigorously molded and regimented to remove rational thought outside of STEM subjects. Intellectual curiosity, natural to young people, is efficiently crushed by a mountain of uninspiring textbooks, endless testing and examinations. To make sure the individual teenage mind is finally emptied and deprived of autonomous thought the coup de grace to intellectual development is dealt in the form of hundreds of hours of mindless bukatsu training, homework and sleep deprivation. This tried and tested social engineering must go a long way in explaining the weird workings of the jellied brains belonging to the multitude of "Manchurian Candidate" voters who produce the same predictable results like clockwork. However, the downside for democracy of this narrowly schooled and depoliticized citizenry is that it inevitably results in apathy and disengagement, thus all but guaranteeing a consistent, low-voter turn out which can only suit the incumbents. Of course, the rock-solid foundation of the LDP's political hegemony is the finely-tuned, gerrymandered electoral system while the icing and cherry on the cake prettifying Japanese democracy is the bowing, white-gloved, fist-pumping noisy election rituals. The only comfort to take from this dreary pantomime is to remember that all things must pass and indulge in some magical thinking: "Abegeddon" and "the Last Trump"!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Abe may very well go down as the longest serving PM in history here, but that does not mean he accomplished anything in his time in office.

Well, he did raise the average Taro,s  taxes while giving tax breaks to J-Inc, introduced a bunch of laws that public overwhelmingly opposed, restarted N-power plants that vast majority of public is against as well and flooded Japan with tourists. Oh and kept most of the old LDP faction bosses happy by giving Cabinet jobs to their incompetents - In the LDP book those are great accomplishments.

Good to see the CDP (with its higher poportion of female candidates doing so well). Is Japan shaking off its old men in dark clubs scene?

Agreed...not sure about shaking off the old goats though.

Abe said resolving the decades-old issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea and signing a peace treaty with Russia would be his diplomatic priorities during the rest of his term.

They have been his "diplomatic priorities " since he came into power...not much results though huh, despite showcasing his golf / burgers "diplomatic skills " with Donny, relations with all of Japan,s neighbours are near all time lows.

While there was no real chance for the opposition to win, at least they kept Abe from getting the 2/3rd's and THAT is a major victory in my books

Indeed, close to the best that could have been hoped for in this election.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I'm not alone. The state of affairs is vile when people give their vote to politicians that consistently pass laws that retard they lives. And vote for a priminister that has expressed a yearning to send young people into a war. Monarchs that are not legally allowed to express their thoughts. Children taught that being the same is best and again not allowed to express themselves. It will crash down but perhaps not in my life time.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Anyone surprised really? More of the same s***. LDP now has a clear path to ruin the country. But you reap what you sow.

Also, I only saw Abe's promotional spot on tv, NONE of the other candidates which just shows how little power/money they have.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Who else here is sick and tired of the same propaganda coming out here? Any other politician who would be regurgitating the same BS would be out on the arse!

They all sound like that. In fact you could translate the same stock meaningless phrases into any of the world's many 1000's of languages and find that just about all politicians world wide would be saying the same thing.

The only time elected politicians don't use the same old soothing, meaningless BS is when they sound like Trump. Be glad Abe isn't coming out with that kind of stuff.

And at least the voters denied Abe that two-thirds majority in the upper house - for now, anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think SJ makes a good point because basically thats what most Japanese want, a neo fascist type of hierarchical government to hold their hand. One Japanese was looking at the election board of all the candidates and in the usual lecture style you get in Japan proceeded to teach me all about the senkyo system. I said to him "why bother, nothing will change. The US controls you." he just shrugged and walked off.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The main constituency of the LDP has for the most part been the people in the country NOT the cities. 

That was my point. The LDP relies on the fact that there are twice as many voters in the cities, but the country areas elect the same number of representatives.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That was about as good a result as you could have hoped for.

What a depressing state of affairs.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

...most Japanese want, a neo fascist type of hierarchical government to hold their hand.

True, but the hand-holding soon turns to abusive hand-squeezing and then the iron grip won't be released. The only hope lies with a future generation of young Japanese who, like the Hong Kongers, will refuse the candy offered by shady politicians and instead of their hand to hold give them their fist. Hope I live to see the day!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have lived here more than 2 decades here are some observations:

despite the chatter about low turnout, even when they turn out in droves, the results are always the same. LDP wins.

I have seen polls on TV that show the LDP is a popular party, I do not know who is saying they are not, when you can win EVERY election but one in 100 years you are popular. I do not like them but you can not deny the numbers.

I never thought of Japan as a democracy, I made my own word to describe Japan: "Controlled Capitalist Socialism" - It is socialist in a way, capitalist in a way but the capitalism is controlled very heavily. You can have a dream and get rich being an entrepreneur but the conditions are controlled as to who can have the dream and who can not.

Regarding the election results, isn't it basically the same as all other elections? Seems like it to me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

even when they turn out in droves

When was that?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But LDP does not have a majority enough to overthrow Article 9.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

will not reach the super-majority needed to propose constitutional revisions, according to vote counts by public television and other media.

Excellent, Article 9 is saved. The thing is if he needed a super majority then he'd need a population that voted. But if he had a population that was political then the LDP would be turfed from office. So there remains this stalemate and the warmongers are thwarted yet again. Delicious

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And at least the voters denied Abe that two-thirds majority in the upper house - for now, anyway.

Well, it will be the last upper house election while Abe is PM, unless he decides to change the rules again and become a dictator here! (However dont expect the LDP to let him get away with it again!)

I have seen polls on TV that show the LDP is a popular party, I do not know who is saying they are not, when you can win EVERY election but one in 100 years you are popular. I do not like them but you can not deny the numbers.

The poll numbers are deceiving, and if you have been here over 20 years you should be aware of that. The LDP only garners about 30% to 40% approval ratings, and considering the way things are here, those numbers are not inline with the results of elections.

Also I get you are over exaggerating about winning every election, yet they have shown some kinks in their armor, and if Abe continues with his push to change the constitution, along with the unpopular raise of the consumption tax, he is going to lose popularity right quick and his reign will come to a quick end.

Dont be surprised if you see a cabinet shuffle and him come out with some new BS too!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hopefully these old geezers will die off from old age before the constitution gets changed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I never thought of Japan as a democracy, I made my own word to describe Japan: "Controlled Capitalist Socialism" - It is socialist in a way, capitalist in a way but the capitalism is controlled very heavily. You can have a dream and get rich being an entrepreneur but the conditions are controlled as to who can have the dream and who can not.

Its not a democracy, but its rather something bizarre that has evolved since the reverse course with religious influence like the Koimeto party, the Happy Science cult, the LDP and the DPJ. everything in Japan is controlled, like watching a rehearsed play over and over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

True, but the hand-holding soon turns to abusive hand-squeezing and then the iron grip won't be released. The only hope lies with a future generation of young Japanese who, like the Hong Kongers, will refuse the candy offered by shady politicians and instead of their hand to hold give them their fist. Hope I live to see the day!

Hmm, cant really agree with that, and I dont think you will ever live to see that day, for the reasons that you state here:

Certainly, but, as we all know, the destruction of intellectual motivation begins early with Japanese education and really kicks in with junior high school and the onset of puberty when young minds are rigorously molded and regimented to remove rational thought outside of STEM subjects. Intellectual curiosity, natural to young people, is efficiently crushed by a mountain of uninspiring textbooks, endless testing and examinations.....

There is a huge difference between Hong Kongers and Japanese; the HK people have had experience with a Western educational system and speak English without reservation, indicating a mind that is open to creativity and imagination. There is no baseline for that in Japan. For those who leave and experience it, then return, its quickly crushed. Its what makes it all go around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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