Everything you need to know about this Sunday’s lower house election

Mieko Tanaka (right) was handpicked by Ichiro Ozawa to take on Yoshiro Mori, the former PM and LDP big wig.
Mieko Tanaka (right) was handpicked by Ichiro Ozawa to take on Yoshiro Mori, the former PM and LDP big wig in Ishikawa 2

I don’t know about you but in my family it is a tradition to gather together with lots of friends on election night and follow the opening of votes.  That’s right: “Election Party Night” and it is on again this Sunday.  So just in case you are only a “social watcher” of politics, I decided to put together a few of my notes on the election so that a few more people can enjoy following what could be a historic election for Japan.  If you know your Japanese politics pretty well then feel free to skip the first 2~3 paragraphs and get into the meat.

The LDP won the last lower house election (2005) after Koizumi dissolved parliament to win support for his key policy of privatizing the post office.  Voter turnout was huge (for Japan) and the LDP won 296 out of the 480 seats in the lower house.  (327 including Komeito)  The Democrats didn’t even win a quarter of the seats (113/480).

This time around the tide has changed and the Democrats will be focusing on two magic numbers.   Continue reading

Crazy Japanese Neighbours – What would you do?

Semblance of our resident crazy Japanese neighbour - Do you have one of these?
Semblance of our resident crazy Japanese neighbour.. Do you have one of these?
When in the mansions of Tokyo what do you do when you have a rogue neighbour who you just can not get along with? One that annoys you with their mannerisms, one that complains about your kids, one that gives you the shiroime (white eye) look in the elevator when you try to aisatsu (make small talk), or one that is all of the above (and just plain crazy). This, is what I have. Is it simply time to move? Do you guts it out and pretend it does not exist? Or do you confront the a-hole directly and try to rectify whatever it is that bugs you? Apparently my family gets on his nerves so much, that words such as “korosu-zou!” (I’m going to kill you!) being yelled from the window below has now become commonplace. Continue reading

Happiness through Japanese Politicians?

Ryuho Okawa (大川 隆法) is the founder of the Happy Science religious organization and the Happiness Realization Party political party in Japan
Ryuho Okawa (大川 隆法) is the founder of the Happy Science religious organization and the Happiness Realization Party political party in Japan
If this was any other country I think you’d assume that a political party named the “Happiness Realization Party” was a hoax (or a bunch of hippies). But this is Japan and if the amount of donations to fight the next election is any gauge, I think it is safe to say that this new party on the Japanese political scene is very serious.

It’s more than likely that you’ve heard their trucks driving around near you because the Happiness Realization Party (幸福実現党) are fielding a candidate in every one of the 300 single-seat electoral districts (小選挙区, shosenkyoku) and if that wasn’t enough they are also providing a list of a whopping 45 candidates for the proportional-representation constituency (比例区, hireiku).*1 While their “uguisujo” (鶯嬢, noisy hired help shouting out politicians names from vans) don’t mention it directly, the Happiness Realization Party are actually a close affiliate of the shinkoshukyu (新興宗教, slightly controversial religion) known as “Happy Science”. Continue reading