politics

Public not very excited over contest to select next prime minister

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@LFR

I'm pretty sure that the reference to Bush being electeed only once was an allusion to the fact that, in the opinion of many, he "stole" the election from Gore and so wasn't genuinely elected first time around. I don't know all the facts, but I like to believe it's true, otherwise we have to accept the fact that the USA really was dumb enough to vote him in twice.

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@Greg Demmons You say:

"a criminal like Ozawa"

Could you please tell us what crime he has been convicted of? You're making a bold claim, saying he is a "criminal." If you cannot back up that claim, what you say is libelous.

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Housewife: "Elementary students have more interesting conversations ( than politicians )"

Ha ha, that be true!

cleo: "American presidents win by spending more than the other guy"

That must be why Steve Forbes became presi... wait a minute - he lost!

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How would you expect the electorate to be excited by who is to lead the country when it is not themselves who will decide who is to be the successor to Kan. I think people are just disillusioned with politics, who ever gets in, will it be the same old story. Perhaps the citizens of Japan believe this to be so. If a general election was to be called for in the very near future, would it make a difference in regards to the current policeis thrown around in the political arena?Promises made by polititions are rarely kept and that doesnt just apply to Japan, so if the people are uninterested in just who becomes the next primeminister ,perhaps their lethargy is justified

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Japanese demand nothing, That is why a criminal like Ozawa is allowed to run everything here. And if you believe that any of the stories in this paper actually quote real people and are not just totally fabricated stories, I have some nice farmland in Tohoku that I would like to sell you!!!

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shirokuma2011Aug. 29, 2011 - 09:36AM JST

There is a disconnect because the "public"--that omnipresent voice in the polls that gives thumbs up or down to any current administration--has no voice in electing the country's leader. The very concept that the ruling party's leader--elected by the ruling party itself, not by the people

The people actually chosing their own leader? Now that is a novel concept! I don't know any place in the world actually doing that, but it sure sounds nice!

I suppose, at the very least, Japan could produce the ILLUSION of doing that, just by copying the David Copperfield system of others.

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This was news months ago. Now it's just the status quo.

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The amazing thing in US elections is that an inarticulate candidate who does get roundly crucified in public debate can still get elected. Twice.

If you're referring to Bush, he was only elected once. If you're referring to Reagan, fair play.

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The people do not elect the President of the United States. The Electoral College does. Here 'politics' is an animal of front, it's the behind the front where the power apparatus lies. An important factor that influenced the response to the natural disaster and then nuclear catastrophe is that Kan had already started to circumnavigate that apparatus and thus had to create a structure that would give him information and respond. He had the right idea, to starve the beast of authority, too bad these events occurred when they did, he may have been able to fundamentally change how 'politics' works in Japan. The chance has gone.

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Why not exciting, didnt the japanese public want to see the facial expressions of Mr Maehara at the end of the race?

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the PM is just the leader of the party in power, not a president and not the head of state. It would be crazy to have the entire population voting for who should lead the DPJ; why should people outside the party have the right to choose its leader?

The system has worked perfectly well for years in the UK, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Denmark, Sweden etc etc, and I for one prefer it this way to having a presidential system.

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The bottom line is that if the people could vote directly -- sure there would be some bad choices made -- people would be more interested and more active, and the politicians would actually have to appeal to the people instead of waiting in line at a men's club to scratch each others' backs and be chosen the next PM. Japanese votes are generally apathetic, but they really, REALLY don't care this time because they have no choice, and they know that the choice made by the inept party today will require another choice be made next year.

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cleo: "The amazing thing in US elections is that an inarticulate candidate who does get roundly crucified in public debate can still get elected. Twice."

True... but you at least cannot deny that there exist HUGE differences in the parties in the US, whereas the DPJ is simply composed of LDP members who flunked and/or were kicked out (some resigned when they were GOING to be kicked out) and share more or less the same lack of values and ethics.

True that parties in the US will suggest one thing while in power and oppose it when opposition, but the 60 million fools who vote a moron (twice) into office in the US share said lack of values with that party, and not the opposition. Goes without saying, but you get my point. There are ideological differences in some of the coalition parties, but the LDP and DPJ are basically the same.

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Shirokuma2011 - most parliamentary democracies don't elect leaders directly. That's a silly criteria for dismissing a criteria - I don't think the US system works wonderfully at all.

This is true, of course, but I still think this political structure is largely responsible for the looming gulf between public opinion and what the public actually gets in terms of political leadership. The system for electing a prime minister from within the party unfortunately doesn't provide a mechanism for enabling the most capable candidate to rise to the top--it is a pure power play, and the person with the power at any one time isn't necessarily the person most capable of leading. And once elected, the prime minister is often rendered incapable of even the most basic task of steering the boat.

I don't think the US system works wonderfully in every case, either, but we seldom find ourselves dealing with a rudderless state.

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Politicians working together? Gasp. That seems as likely as the next PM actually doing something to help Japan.

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Shirokuma2011 - most parliamentary democracies don't elect leaders directly. That's a silly criteria for dismissing a criteria - I don't think the US system works wonderfully at all.

This is true, of course, but I still think this political structure is largely responsible for the looming gulf between public opinion and what the public actually gets in terms of political leadership. The system for electing a prime minister from within the party unfortunately doesn't provide a mechanism for enabling the most capable candidate to rise to the top--it is a pure power play, and the person with the power at any one time isn't necessarily the person most capable of leading. And once elected, the prime minister is often rendered incapable of even the most basic task of steering the boat.

I don't think the US system works wonderfully in every case, either, but we seldom find ourselves dealing with a rudderless state.

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“There’s precious little on policy talk,” said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University in Tokyo.

“One would expect them to” outline their platform on reconstruction and other issues, “but they’re not, which is a strange and really disappointing,” he said. “They are rather more concerned with political bickering inside the political quarters in Nagata-cho.”

Im very surprised by this comment from a political science professor. Why would there be any talk on policy? They dont have to impress the public right now. They just have to kiss-up to the guys who will be voting them in in Natagacho - isnt it obvious? They couldnt give a crap what the public think of them. Even once they are seated in the PM`s chair the public come a distant third after Big Business and Fellow Ministers.

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I might suggest a system like the US with the leader elected for 4 years, but can you imagine being led by Abe, or Ozawa and seeing that face and the ridiculous ideas for 4 years? At least the current system lets them quickly dispose of the trash.

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The only way they could have spent more money 'than the other guy' is in bribing Ozawa and Hatoyama to support them.

And Ozawa and Hatoyama have clout because of... money.

Same with the DPJ when they won power -- they promised so very, very much and when asked how they would implement said promises and where they would find the money, they were simply mum.

Actually they waxed quite lyrical about where they would bet the money - cutting waste and pork barrels. When push came to shove the fat cats with their snouts in the barrels proved too heavily entrenched and too powerful to shift. And then 3/11 happened and trying to stick to any kind of manifesto after that was simply not going to happen.

when debating the candidates have to spell out their platforms or they get crucified

The amazing thing in US elections is that an inarticulate candidate who does get roundly crucified in public debate can still get elected. Twice. In America, who gets to sit in the big chair is the fault of around 60 million dumb people. In Japan, it's the fault of around 400 dumb people.

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Elementary students have more interesting conversations.

You said it Rie!

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It is like putting meat tenderizer and spices on a rotten piece of meat. Still gonna taste bad.

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cleo: "American presidents win by spending more money than the other guy, and having a teflon personality. Not much different to the way it's done in Japan."

Is that the case with these five men? The only way they could have spent more money 'than the other guy' is in bribing Ozawa and Hatoyama to support them. If you're comparing local elections to presidential elections then maybe, but otherwise they are quite different. These guys did not ONCE spell out how they would 'end the nuclear crisis and fix the economy' as they promised they would do if elected. Same with the DPJ when they won power -- they promised so very, very much and when asked how they would implement said promises and where they would find the money, they were simply mum.

Don't get me wrong -- the US system is FAR from perfect -- but when debating the candidates have to spell out their platforms or they get crucified. All politicians world-wide engage in vague statements and euphemism in order to hide things or what have you, but never aside from perhaps the brain-washing in North Korea have I seen such ludicrous promises of miracles made without the slightest indication of how they'll go about keeping them as is the case with Japanese politicians.

The next person elected PM this afternoon will be out within a year and a half, having accomplished zilch. The LDP will be attacking them tomorrow morning, and it'll be back to political bickering and dead-lock while the people in the north continue to suffer.

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Make him resign before he does some damage.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

those running for president have to CLEARLY appeal to the public, spell out their platforms, and more

American presidents win by spending more money than the other guy, and having a teflon personality. Not much different to the way it's done in Japan.

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“It’s so upsetting to see them squabbling in parliament. Elementary students have more interesting conversations.”

I think that about sums up politics in Japan in a nutshell.

Hikozaemon: "Shirokuma2011 - most parliamentary democracies don't elect leaders directly. That's a silly criteria for dismissing a criteria - I don't think the US system works wonderfully at all."

It works a LOT better than it does here. True, there is just as much if not more dead-lock in politics in the US at the moment, due to the GDP controlling the house and filibustering and saying 'no' to everything, but those running for president have to CLEARLY appeal to the public, spell out their platforms, and more. In Japan you have a party elected often because in many places there is poor representation and the people have one of two choices for their area -- LDP and DPJ. If someone wants to vote for another party they can't; they have to vote for one of the two aforementioned because they are in a coalition with the party they wish to actually vote for. So, they vote LDP or DPJ, then those idiots put in someone who is usually unfit for the job, after said unfit person has rotated through the various ministries.

Regardless, I think Banri will get it since the criminal Ozawa and his lap-dog have backed him. Maehara is too young, and needs to be recycled a few more times before it's his turn. They'll give him a cushy ministerial position, like Minister of Finances, and then next time it'll be Agriculture, then Foreign Affairs again (all of which he'll quit), and then a few scandals and doing the opposite of what he promises and later he'll be fit for the role of Japanese PM. Banri's already lied and embarrassed himself a lot more, so it's "his turn".

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Shirokuma2011 - most parliamentary democracies don't elect leaders directly. That's a silly criteria for dismissing a criteria - I don't think the US system works wonderfully at all.

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There is a disconnect because the "public"--that omnipresent voice in the polls that gives thumbs up or down to any current administration--has no voice in electing the country's leader. The very concept that the ruling party's leader--elected by the ruling party itself, not by the people--is automatically qualified to lead the country is itself flawed, and one persistent reason why the Japanese political system continues to function as a democracy in name only.

In the end, the media maintains a running popularity meter that is nothing more than that--the opinions expressed have little or no influence on the end result.

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The public doesn't demand change - it simply has no confidence in the current government, or any of the alternatives. For a couple of years now, the most popular political party and most popular leader in NHK polls has been "none of the above". People are fed up.

The DPJ is a failed political party, and the winner of this contest is doomed to be a lame duck unable to pass legislation until the next house election, which they are likely to delay as long as possible, possibly for up to another year.

All the while, the government has failed the residents of Tohoku and Fukushima, failed the national public on food safety and information, and failed at keeping its most basic election promises.

Yaaay....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"not very excited" but yet recent news stories suggest that the public demands change. Why is there a disconnect here?

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