politics

Ruling bloc wins landslide in upper house election; voter turnout at 54.7%

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By Linda Sieg and Minami Funakoshi

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This is a happy day for Abe, not so much for Japan's international community.

As for the markets, I am guessing that this landslide LDP victory will cause the yen to get even stronger due to an increase in safe haven forex flows, particularly given the negative buzz surrounding Brexit.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

landslide LDP victory will cause the yen to get even stronger

Wrong , the stimulus package is coming to weaken the yen which is needed.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Let us hope that our kids that we have chosen to raise here aren't forced to join the military. Never know what those guys have planned. Seems all the way along Japan wants to join in conflicts abroad and be one of the players on the world stage militarily. War is a racket.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) fell short of winning a simple majority, which would have increased its clout within the coalition.

"Ray of hope (!)"

6 ( +7 / -1 )

First priority will be calling a referendum on changing the Constitution Article 9. I say it will be held in late October.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

All Hail Nippon Kaigi!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Wrong , the stimulus package is coming to weaken the yen which is needed.

Which is needed because?

Well done to the power drunk Komeito. They have lost their backbone. What is the difference between Komeito and LDP?

And ffs, would the DPJ get their act together? I've heard people from political scientists to local shop owners declare, 'they're really the only party in town.' Should have nailed Abe for his failed economic policies as well the LDP's drive to amend the constitution, but not really make it a talking point.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Japan needs a weak yen in order to compete internationally. When the yen is expensive, many companies lose money when they export their goods. I have read that the sweet spot is in the 110s to the dollar. Many here get angry at that, I am not sure why. Perhaps people who are in Japan and paying off student loans are affected?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

"Well done to the power drunk Komeito. They have lost their backbone"

I don't remember them having one.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Off to Yasukuni, c'mon everybody!

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Which is needed because?

I can see you have good business acumen under your belt.

The reason ? simply example The Bank of Japan’s monetary easing will greatly help Car & machinery manufacturing abroad to increase its operating profit. An idiot would understand that you do not reprate profits made abroad against a strong yen.

A weak yen helps export-oriented companies.

On the other side a weak yen has it's ...... but I'm not here to teach teachers.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

@keika1628 Japan needs to wean itself off the idea that the old companies need to be all supported.

Some should be let go to the wall. Japan's zero inflation is a key point to understanding its historic economic experience. But if they brought back positive interest rates ordinary people might be more wiling to spend money.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

These days China is a huge market. It is the world's largest automobile market. Why is the automobile maket dominated by European and Korean manufacturers? Even American manufacturers sell more than Japanese there.

The answer is quite obvious. If Abe wants to improve the Japanese economy by increasing exports, he should drop his ultra-nationalist agenda and not the value of the yen.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

54% turnout? You deserve what your apathy gets you Japan!

7 ( +12 / -5 )

A weak yen helps export-oriented companies.

And hurts literally every other Japanese consumer. The idea that Japan is "monodzukuri" society is nonsense. Relative to the Japanese economy, Japan's export sector is rather small. Japanese economy is 3rd in the world, exports per capita 39th.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_exports_per_capita

but I'm not here to teach teachers.

That's okay, I do not think you are in a position to "teach" anyone anything about business or economics.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Some should be let go to the wall. Japan's zero inflation is a key point to understanding its historic economic experience.

I couldn't give a damn about Japan. I'm not here to soldier along and support a country and it's policies , I'm here to support my pocket , educate my kids, put bread on the table and when I'm done .. I'm out of here.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

"... I see economic growth as the priority..."

That was their priority for quite some time and so far nothing has happened .. at least no change to the better.

People just had no other options and a voter turn-out of less than 55% .. now that's quite something. The opposition failed to mobilize voters, the ruling party was able to rely on their old voters (literally) so no big surprise!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Hey, look at the bright side. Doing the same old stuff may work this time. The US will be forced to take Japan's side in the next war with China and Abe can take credit for that victory if anyone is left alive.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A result of the apathy of the young, and the selfishness of the old.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

elkarlo: Companies don,t loss money they make less profit. I am sick of earring bosses crying poor mouth.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Let us hope that our kids that we have chosen to raise here aren't forced to join the military. Never know what those guys have planned.

It will depend to a large extent I think what happens with trade pacts as well as the US strategic alliance with Japan and South Korea in the next few years.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Surprise surprise. Now see them steamroll constitution and turn all nuclear reactors online again. #japanisdoomed

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takeda.shingen.1991@gmail.com: It is cost margin to weight and value adding that makes exports profitable. Not the amount. Coal and iron ore have a very low margin to weight profit. EG, Where a Platstation has Y5000 raw component,managing and running cost and a Y5000 labour cost per unit. The margin to weight profit is higher then raw material exporting national. that why per cap Japan is 39 net export and the 3 rd biggest economy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This just in - 40.5% of Japan's workforce is now made up of part timer & sub-contractor positions. Further down the spiral we go! Thank you Dear Lord!

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That's it everyone. Welcome to the abyss that is the decline of japan.

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Sorry, with just over 50% of the people voting or bothering to vote it is not a land slide not even a win. It is a dissaster and it certainly cannot be called a democratic system any longer. Propaganda news.

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At 7:30pm last night the voter turnout was reported at 36%. This report says 54%. Did so many show up at the last minute?

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Japan's export sector is rather small

Yeah, but that "the Japanese economy is highly export dependent" is one of those "facts" that most gaijin know and if gaijin believe it, it must be true even if the World Bank and other reputable economic agencies say otherwise.

I checked the World Bank stats a couple of weeks ago. Germany, for example, has three times the export dependency that Japan has.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

“I have two more years to my term (as LDP president) and this is a goal of the LDP, so I want to address it calmly,” Abe said.

Government is supposed to be for the people, not for the LDP.

But I hope that they just hurry up and amend the constitution, so that that issue will be Out Of The Way. And then they can have one less excuse for focusing on making structural reforms to boost Japan's potential economic growth rate.

With signs the strategy is failing, the government plans to compile a post-election stimulus package that could exceed 10 trillion yen ($99 billion).

If in doubt, double down. How many times have they doubled down now?

Economists worry the government will choose big-ticket infrastructure projects rather than implement tough structural reforms.

Yes. If the infrastructure projects provided long term economic gains it would be OK, but invariably the money goes on useless stuff, which holds Japan's productivity down through misallocation of Japan's scarce resources.

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It is a dissaster and it certainly cannot be called a democratic system any longer

Sure it can. Democracy is being able to elect your leaders. If people choose not to vote, that doesn't change the fact that they could have. The democracy is still intact.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Sorry, with just over 50% of the people voting or bothering to vote it is not a land slide not even a win. It is a dissaster and it certainly cannot be called a democratic system any longer. Propaganda news.

Sorry, but 54.7% is quite high for a by election, better than many US presidential elections. Who becomes POTUS is far more important than who gets into the upper house in the Japanese parliament.

At 7:30pm last night the voter turnout was reported at 36%. This report says 54%. Did so many show up at the last minute?

When I checked my polling station late last night (about a hour before closing) there was no last minute surge. More like that many people voted early. Japan has a very generous system for voting before election day.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

"Landslide" is an over statement.

LDP got 56 out of 121, short of majority. Together with the existing seats, LDP got 121 out of 242, one seat short of majority.

LDP and Komeito got 70 out of 121 or 57.8%. With the existing seats, the coalition got 146 seats out of 242 or 60.3%.

Is 60% landslide?

LDP is working on making a bigger coalition with opposition Osaka-Ishin and Kokoro. The combined seats of LDP, Komeito, Osaka- Ishin and Kokoro are 161, one seat short of 2/3 majority. So, they need help from one of 4 independent Upper House members, which may not easily come.

LDP lost to DPJ in 11 closely contested 1 seat districts. For example,

Oita district: DPJ 271,783 votes, LDP 270,693 votes

Niigata district: DPJ 560,429, LDP 558,150

Aomori district: DPJ 302,867, LDP 294,815

Mie district: DPJ 440,776, LDP 420,929

DPJ did better than expected.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Sorry, but 54.7% is quite high for a by election

I think you will find this was not a by-election. It was a national election, and 54 percent is close to a record low turnout.

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“Especially since I see economic growth as the priority, I have little hope for the opposition parties,” said Yoshihiko Takeda, a 36-year-old IT company employee.

I definitely don't see hope with the current government, seeing as they've failed with Abenomics. However, blame does go to the opposition for not having better plans, rather than just saying "we oppose".

I couldn't give a damn about Japan. I'm not here to soldier along and support a country and it's policies , I'm here to support my pocket , educate my kids, put bread on the table and when I'm done .. I'm out of here.

This is an apathy of a different kind from the non-voting Japanese. Glad to see there are people care about the sustainability of Japan though, rather than just looking for the short-term gains.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sorry, but 54.7% is quite high for a by election, better than many US presidential elections.

that 54.7 was not for the LDP alone. Their partner Komeito's votes are more or less in the bag since everyone who is Soka Gakkai is voting for them; and Soka Gakkai makes sure its members all go out to vote. Its all about party alliances and mergers to confuse the public so that they throw up their hands in exasperation and vote for the status quo.

Politics in Japan is very much a racket.

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The question is: will LDP stooges Komeito go along with the revision of article 9 of the constitution, despite their spineless leader having said before that he doesn't think it's necessary? I don't think the question will arise.

Instead, I think Dishonest Abe will try for an amendment to allow him to impose a "state of emergency" at any time he pleases. Once he has that power he will be able to rewrite the constitution at will and there will be nothing to stop him.

These enabling laws have been the favourite tool of dictators throughout history to gain control of countries. Abe wants the entire constitution scrapped and a "state of emergency" amendment will give him the ability to do it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sorry, with just over 50% of the people voting or bothering to vote it is not a land slide not even a win. It is a dissaster >and it certainly cannot be called a democratic system any longer. Propaganda news.

What's the minimum turnout rate for an election to be called democratic: 60% or 70%?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@CH3CHO

Thanks for providing some details about votes as per the news in here, there is no mention on any numbers for the others parties but "LDP landslide victory" (like other political parties did not exist), I can't stop to think how odd it is to have news after an election day not mentioning any breakout of the votes and just claiming the victory of 1 single party.

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July 10, 2016 — the day the music died for Japan's 70 year experiment with democratic freedoms.

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Let no one ever doubt Abe or other cabinet member's pre war nationalism. We're going back 70+ years. Japan is not interested in peace. It wants glory..at any price. It's a wounded animal that will go down fighting. OK. That's Japan's choice. Nikon Kaigi is at the heart of this. No one's mentioned it..one or two, maybe. Why were they so silent about this group before the election? This is the true heart of Japan's government. Any surprises some of our neighbors might be a little ticked off?

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C'mon, does the title have to be ridiculous? Since when is 50% of anything a landslide victory? It's a victory, yes. But not a landslide. You didn't run for student council. Sounds like a child trying to impress his dad about passing a class. Trying to impress USA again? Russia, EU? For whom does the poll toll?

In a country that has more actual landslides than earthquakes though, maybe the meaning is different in Japan. I'll take it as sarcastic of: Close, Run of the mill, Dime a Dozen, Undistinguished, Uninspired, Colourless, Indifferent, Aloof, Detached, ... So many better words that can convey a mediocre outcome for a declining nation

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm not so panicked....when they actually have a referendum I seriously doubt 50% of Japanese will vote to change the "Peace constitution" they are so proud of. Last I heard, 70% were against changing it. They voted Abe because they didn't see the other parties doing better on the economy. Loads of interviews showed people saying just that. And more of the young people who would have to fight can vote now. Don't see it happening.

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Seems people have spoken

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Sorry, but 54.7% is quite high for a by election, better than many US presidential elections. Who becomes POTUS is far more important than who gets into the upper house in the Japanese parliament.

54.7% is depressively low given the big importance of this election which is giving super majority to the LDP in the upper house. It has now super majority on both parliaments. Why can't you understand that?

Now concerning the better than many US presidential elections, let's check that, shall we? Assuming that you are really referring to the voter turnout (as also the case in the JT's article) and that you are not confusing with the Voting Age Population (VAP) turnout, the data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance shows that you are utterly wrong, here:

http://www.idea.int/vt/countryview.cfm?id=231

So we see a presidential voter turnout between 1964 and 2012 of 95.83% and 66.66% respectively. Therefore instead of always trying to defend Japan with silly comparisons with US and instead of making stuff up from thin air, I would suggest you to get your facts right first.

And please go ahead and use the same site to compare Japan since the middle of the 90's with other countries, say France or Tunisia for world sake. That should hopefully put your perspectives into the right direction and get you out of your "Japan has no problem, it's all made up by foreigners" rhetoric.

Now concerning this election, the marginally improved turnout compared to the previous upper house election shows that lowering the voting age to 18 was basically pointless. No surprise here, given the rather late mental development of people here. Older ones like students in big universities are not better, so there was no reason to believe in the ones coming before them.

More dramatic is how the election was organized. Similarly to the last and sudden lower house election, everything was organized with the minimum of debate with most TV channels and media ignoring any topic out of fear of angering the LDP (see also http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/09/national/media-national/long-can-japans-old-mens-club-last/). The LDP did not want to have to deal with sensitive topics like the constitution revision and the disastrous results of its economical policies. So they made sure that nobody really talks about it seriously so that an already apathetic population can't be shown constructive arguments and the status quo of a country ruled by oligarchy continues.

I should recall that it was reported that the media were told basically not to formulate critics towards the LDP for the reason they call fairness. No real debate concerning their policy and their FAILURE since they got back to power was made, we were served instead the usually ridiculous street shouting with BS rhetorics and lies. Form but not substance, this is what Japan does best. As an university employee, I received an email from the general administration before the elections asking us not to engage in political activities or even debate, the email read:

The schools prescribed by law shall refrain from political education or other political activities for or against any specific political party.

Which basically refrain people from criticizing the party in power. And

An educator (a school principal and a teacher prescribed in the School Education Act (Act No. 26 of 1947)) shall not engage in election campaign by use of educational position to students.

which basically prevent teachers to even have a debate on the country election with students.

This country is a circus of democracy. This is disgraceful. Apparently they think that a democracy consists of people just showing up somewhere to put a peace of paper in a box. The problem in Japan is that the government is doing everything to make sure people put the peace of paper they want them to put. Biased education where freedom of thinking is not valued, manipulations to keep vested interests shared by the oligarchy protected, lack of debate, media control and the list continues.

Now the LDP in which a few members including Abe are clearly sympathizers towards regressive ideas and potentially dangerous ones which flirt with xenophobia, has probably the biggest political power it ever had in its 50+ years of undemocratic domination of the political landscape of Japan.

The people living in this country proved us again that they are just dumb.

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I cannot agree enough with daito-hak's post above.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japanese economy is 3rd in the world, exports per capita 39th.

Japan is also 4th in the world in exports. And many of the players on your list above Japan are either oil producers or financial centers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'd suggest for the foreign born in Japan to determine what your personal line in the sand would be to help you tell yourself when it's time to go. That way you're not a frog in a pot left unaware

Who knows, maybe there's a falling out and Abe can't get what he wants. Maybe it all works out. But if not, make a plan based on concrete reasons.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The only election outcome worthy of a democratic country is like what Australia practise: Mandatory Voting. Without mandatory voting, democracy is a farce that favor the incumbent with deep pocket and a well organized base who always turn out to vote to keep their party going and going and going, much like how LDP manage to control Japan for almost all of post war Japan. There is nothing to celebrate about LDP victory. It is rather hollow as it don't represent the will of all the eligible voters. Abe's first priority should be to revise the J Constitution to make voting compulsory.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Now concerning the better than many US presidential elections, let's check that, shall we? Assuming that you are really referring to the voter turnout (as also the case in the JT's article) and that you are not confusing with the Voting Age Population (VAP) turnout, the data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance shows that you are utterly wrong, here:

It is you who need to get your facts right. In Japan virtually everyone who is a citizen is automatically registered to vote. The voting age population and the number of registered voters is little different. In the US you have to register to vote and some areas make this very difficult especially if you are a minority member or poor. There is a big gap in the US between voting age population and registered voters.

As a consequence if you calculate (voters) / (registered voters) for the US and Japan, the US will look good because people who have gone to the trouble of registering probably want to vote. The only appropriate comparison with the US for countries such as Japan or the UK that have automatic registration is (voters) / (voting age population).

On that basis the last four presidential elections in the US have had turnout rates of 54, 58, 57, and 53%.

On the same basis, the last four parliamentary elections in Japan (other than the most recent one) have had turnout rates of 52, 60, 69, and 66%.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

"The only election outcome worthy of a democratic country is like what Australia practise: Mandatory Voting. "

Disagree Fre Okin. Sure the ‘vote or be fined’ system ensures that pretty much every citizen has their say but do democracies really need the opinion/vote of citizens who have no interest in politics or are pretty clueless about it?

When a substantial number of people who do not know anything about politics nor care about it are forced to give their opinion the democratic process is not necessarily more (or less) respected/accurate than when 50% or 60% of eligible voters cast a ballot. Ignorance can hurt too, especially when people have to 'rank' parties they know nothing about from 1 to 6.

As an aside, quite a few ppl in recent years have actually campaigned against compulsory voting (they would have my vote ).

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I agree with goldorak on this point. If we think about voting as an expression of our voice, then people who care about politics enough to choose to go and vote deserve to have their voices heard. People who choose not to participate are making a conscious decision not to contribute to the debate, for whatever reason.

Also, forcing people to vote seems about as undemocratic as we can get. How can we force people to express their opinion if they have chosen to remain silent?

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Komeito. They're the pacifists, right?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

daito_hakJUL. 11, 2016 - 11:57AM JST

Now concerning the better than many US presidential elections, let's check that, shall we? Assuming that you are really referring to the voter turnout (as also the case in the JT's article) and that you are not confusing with the Voting Age Population (VAP) turnout, the data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance shows that you are utterly wrong, here:

Comparing voter turnouts in the US and in Japan is comparing apples and oranges, because there is no such thing like "registered voters" in Japan. In Japan, one does not need to register for voting. One can just go to the voting station to cast his vote. So, comparison of voting age population turnout is appropriate.

By the way, your linked page show more registered voters than voting age population in Japan in 2012, 2009, 1996, 1990 and so on. Check the validity of your data.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@sf2k

I'd suggest for the foreign born in Japan to determine what your personal line in the sand would be to help you tell yourself when it's time to go. That way you're not a frog in a pot left unaware

I tend to agree with this. Not only the problems here in Japan, but also the tensions we are seeing around the world. We are seeing embargoes, modern slavery has people tired and wanting change (with no means to effect it), fiscal problems that seem to have no solutions, division among the people and a new rise to racial hatred - and generations mindless servants that are ready to carry out the orders of the next Hitler or Hirohito.

We have all the ingredients for the perfect storm, much like the 1930's.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All in all, the result of the upper house election was mostly what media had expected. But I'm not depressed, and I believe the other ruling party will play a pivotal role in stunting prime minister's plan that rashly initiates the process of constitution amendment, till the day he resigns.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That landslide didn't happen in Tohoku. There was one seat up in each of the six prefectures and the LDP won only one of them. The voter turnout was also higher (with one exception) than the nationwide average at: Aomori 55.31%, Akita 60.87%, Iwate 57.78%, Yamagata 62.22%, Miyagi 52.39%, Fukushima 57.12%.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We have all the ingredients for the perfect storm, much like the 1930's.

Unlikely, at least in the case of Japan. More likely in Europe where overtly hard right and even fascist parties are on the rise. Despite what people may say in this venue, Abe could not make it as a Bible Belt Republican or Tea Bagger let alone as a European-style neo-Nazi. Moreover, unlike the 1930s, China is not weak and divided. It is one of the two nuclear powers in our neighborhood, the other being Russia.

People who comment in this venue would do well to read about what is going on in Europe and not just eastern Europe before they go into Henny Penny mode over Abe and the LDP. And, if Trump becomes POTUS, the whole world will have something to worry about. Abe and the LDP will probably drop off the radar screen.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

While watching the election results come in via TV Sunday night I did some mental calculations concerning the vote tally. The areas in which Komeito did not field a candidate and supported Jiminto, the total votes for Jiminto were really high. At the same time I was also wondering why the people taking the exit polls at the polling stations did not ask the voters if they belonged to Soka Gakkai. I got the feeling that once again Jiminto was winning big thanks to all those votes being made for it by Soka Gakkai members. As in the last national election, we can once again thank Soka Gakkai for following Komeito's instructions and voting for Jiminto candidates. At that time, some local news outlets reported that Jiminto won only because of Soka Gakkai's backing ... and surely the same reportage will appear somewhere saying the same thing about Sunday's election.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Komeito. They're the pacifists, right?"

I think so but when they melt in front of the eyes of the LDP I can imagine a "and you can call me whatever you want, handsome".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As for the markets, I am guessing that this landslide LDP victory will cause the yen to get even stronger due to an increase in safe haven forex flows, particularly given the negative buzz surrounding Brexit. yet the yen weakened almost 2yen/$ just today, that shows investors are getting ready for the BOJ another round of easing. The US economy is doing much better than expected and most expect the US to weather the Brexit much better than others. The US will most likely raise rate long before other central banks do putting more upward pressure on the US$ against most major currencies.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

2yen/$ just today, that shows investors are getting ready for the BOJ another round of easing.

shush! don't say anything , . You'll be thumbed off the page for telling the truth.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Wow, the oppositon is really pathetic, isn't it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bullfighterJUL. 11, 2016 - 03:04PM JST

People who comment in this venue would do well to read about what is going on in Europe and not just eastern Europe before they go into Henny Penny mode over Abe and the LDP. And, if Trump becomes POTUS, the whole world will have something to worry about. Abe and the LDP will probably drop off the radar screen.

Possibly they have read all about Europe and the USA, but what's going on elsewhere is irrelevant to any discussion about this article.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Possibly they have read all about Europe and the USA, but what's going on elsewhere is irrelevant to any discussion about this article.

Well, if they have, they don't show it. For example, there's no absolute standard for what constitutes a low voter turnout. You cannot legitimately proclaim the Sunday election turnout low without a comparative reference. There is no ISO standard for election turnout. There is no UN convention on election turnout. As far as I know no holy book of any major religion specifies what is a proper election turnout. People posting in this venue did not reference historical voter turnout rates in Japan to proclaim the Sunday turnout low. (It was in fact up a bit from recent patterns.) So, when commentators proclaim the turnout "low," they must have some reference of what is a proper turnout rate, most likely what they imagine the case to be for their own country.

Similarly, there's no ISO standard definition of what constitutes almost all of the terms used in this article and all of the terms used to describe Abe and the LDP. Conservative, reactionary, LDP, etc. do not have absolute definitions. Unless commentators in this venue are capable of totaling discarding their personal cultural baggage and "sense of what is right" developed outside of Japan in a completely different country with a different culture and history what is going on elsewhere and what has gone on elsewhere will always be present in the comments.

If this venue was really about Japan in isolation, people would be comparing Abe with previous prime ministers and talking about previous Japanese elections, not discussing it in terms of some abstraction that is almost certainly derived from their own national and cultural bias. For example, Abe is not the first LDP PM who has wanted to revise the Constitution. Why has there been no discussion here of why Abe has been able to push further down this path than previous prime ministers?

I suspect the answer is simple. Most know absolutely nothing about previous attempts at revising the Constitution.

I would be delighted to see comments here focused entirely on what is going on Japan without absolutely no reference either implicit or explicit to what is going on in other countries except where that directly impinges on Japanese politics.

How about you starting the ball rolling by telling us why Abe seems to be able to push on Constitutional revision in a way that previous prime ministers could not. The topic is not new. When I came in 1971 there were LDP types that wanted to revise the Constitution. They were there before I came. The ball is in your court and that of all those who are really concerned about this issue.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

bullfighterJUL. 12, 2016 - 01:05PM JST

So, when commentators proclaim the turnout "low," they must have some reference of what is a proper turnout rate, most likely what they imagine the case to be for their own country.

I imagine the figures are similar there and no more or less satisfactory than they would be in Japan. Then again my country has no equivalent of Sunday's election in Japan so I consider any comparison in this case to be totally irrelevant and meaningless.

I would be delighted to see comments here focused entirely on what is going on Japan without absolutely no reference either implicit or explicit to what is going on in other countries except where that directly impinges on Japanese politics.

Is that so. Well, too bad. Who do you think is going to write comments to conform to your expectations?

How about you starting the ball rolling by telling us why Abe seems to be able to push on Constitutional revision in a way that previous prime ministers could not.

I'll comment on such matters when and as I see fit, thank you. I don't take instructions or suggestions from other comment posters, just as I don't give or make them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Unless commentators in this venue are capable of totaling discarding their personal cultural baggage and 'sense of what is right' developed outside of Japan in a completely different country with a different culture and history what is going on elsewhere and what has gone on elsewhere will always be present in the comments."

Wait a second. Aren't you the person who logs on to this website literally every day to remind readers that Japan is really not all that different compared to the US and the UK when it comes to issues like sexual harassment, school bullying, low voter turnout, and so forth? But now you're writing that people from places like the US and UK are natives of countries so completely different to Japan that it's flawed reasoning on their part to implicitly or explicitly compare those countries to Japan in their minds?

"Sorry, but 54.7% is quite high for a by election, better than many US presidential elections. Who becomes POTUS is far more important than who gets into the upper house in the Japanese parliament."

Please get your terminology right. Sunday's House of Councillors election in Japan was not a by election, which is usually just an election for a single seat when an MP resigns or passes away. It wasn't a general election either, but it was more like the U.S. mid-term elections for Congress. And yes, it is true, rates of voter turnout in those U.S. mid-term elections are abysmally low (less than 50 percent or sometimes even less than 40 percent). But America holds its elections on a Tuesday, not a Sunday like in Japan.

And I don't understand your logic about the relative importance or lack thereof of the offices up for grabs being important in assessing voter turnout. Why did you bother voting if you have such an apparently low opinion of the relevance of the Japanese House of Councillors? According to that kind of logic, nobody in Iceland or New Zealand should bother voting in any election since individual MPs in those countries are far less important than even HofC members in Japan.

As another person wrote here, unless you take over Japan Today yourself as editor then nobody is going to write the comments that you want them to write. Perhaps you should discard that lofty expectation if you're going to spend every day looking at an anonymous online forum. Or maybe start your own online forum for commenting on Japan, with clear rules on what to write and how to write strictly enforced.

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