Upcoming Japanese Elections

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Upcoming Japanese Elections

Postby Athena » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:39 pm

The current Japanese parliament (the Diet) will be dissolved today, and a new election held on December 15th.

I can't vote, but I generally supported the Democratic Party of Japan in the previous election. A few of their policies leave much to be desired (most notably on copyright law, the recent October 1st change applied even to back up copies which are legal in most countries), but their immigration policies have shown progress. However... much like the Japanese electorate, I am losing my patience with a string of ineffectual leaders who promised both native Japanese and immigrants to Japan that we would see a less adversarial, more responsive, indeed more respectful Japanese government. Now they render an apology for "overstating," as if the poll numbers show that such an apology is desired, let alone that it would have any effect (it isn't, and it won't, even in the land of the apology).

I'll be blunt, I have no idea who I would vote for, even if I had made the decision to naturalise (a debate I am still having with myself, despite my disinclination to give up US citizenship), and therefore could. I most definitely would not support the Liberal Democratic Party, but I might very well pivot away from the DPJ and towards one of the third parties. Perhaps the Socialists or the Communists. Neither of which even remotely approximate how those labels are perceived in the West, especially in the United States.

Ultimately, the parties I fear gaining even "kingmaker" levels of support in the upcoming elections are the nationalist parties, Ishin no Kai (Japanese Restoration Party) and Taiyo no To (Sunrise Party). Bluntly, given previous comments and policy decisions of their respective founders, if either of these parties, or a merged party/party alliance between them, get enough support to actually become relevant in policy negotiations, the consequences to immigrants to Japan, women in Japan, and Japanese citizens of non-Japanese descent could be quite drastic. It's not too far for me to say that the fact they think they even have a chance of becoming political players is enough to cause me some fairly severe nightmares.

Hopefully, the Japanese electorate will reject both a turn to the right and the status quo, but I hold significant doubt in the willingness of the electorate to engage meaningfully in these issues in the limited time frame available for campaigning. One month is hardly enough time for profound discussions of which of these parties best represents a way forward for Japan as a member of the international community of states, as opposed to a way back into policies or attitudes which have failed and will ultimately fail again.
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Re: Upcoming Japanese Elections

Postby NS » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:28 pm

I'm kinda disappointed to learn that Japan is also stuck in the rut of the two party system.
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Re: Upcoming Japanese Elections

Postby Athena » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:24 pm

We're not in the US sense. Our third parties can ally to play "kingmaker." Parties like the Socialists, the Communists, New Komeito, and the Japan Life First Party, and these new nationalist parties (Restoration and Sunrise) often when enough of a vote to get seats. Unlike the US system, where Congress critters get directly elected by first past the pole in their districts, in Japan (without going into several of the peculiarities because, let me put it this way: I took an entire semester CLASS on Japanese elections) seats are doled out by how the parties do percentage wise. So let's say the DPJ gets 35%, the LDP gets 25%, Socialists get 10%, the nationalists get 20% and the Communists get 5%, all other parties share the remaining 5%. There are 300 percentage seats. There are also district seats which operate more like US congressional districts and are first past the pole, 180 of those seats exist. This is the guarantee an area like my own, which is heavily Communist, gets a Communist representative, even if in the nation as a whole, the Communist vote is very small. In this case, the smaller parties can choose to go with the DPJ or the LDP and insist on some pretty major legislative deals in order to help them form a Coalition Government. This wasn't necessary in the previous government because the DPJ had a super majority at 306 seats out of 480. However, with the amount of "a pox on both your houses" I am hearing from the Japanese electorate in regards to both the DPJ and the LDP, it is completely possible for third parties to have quite a lot of power come December.

Here was the breakdown of the House of Representatives (which as the lower house, forms the Government and selects a Prime Minister) as of yesterday:

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DPJ/Club of Independents (306)
LDP (118)
Kōmeitō (21)
JCP (Communists) (9)
SDP/Shimin Rengō (Socialists) (6)
YP (5)
PNP/NPN (4)
SPJ (2)
former "Hiranuma group" (2)
Independents (6)
Vacant (1)
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Re: Upcoming Japanese Elections

Postby Amaterasu » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:09 am

What kind of communist party is it? Marxist-Lenninist? Maoist? Or is it like the CPUSA that supports capitalist ideas and is communist in name only?
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Re: Upcoming Japanese Elections

Postby Athena » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:01 am

It's Marxist. I've met the leader of the JCP, Kazuo Shii, and he explained the the JCP sees its role as laying the groundwork for a very, very, very slow transition from capitalistic democracy to socialist democracy. He does not see a "workers paradise" as something which is possible in our lifetimes, and so JCP policies are based on strengthening some very specific tenets of socialist government; firmly defending Japan's requirement of non-agression, ending the US-Japan status of forces agreement, reforming national healthcare and national education, providing stronger labor laws, providing strict legislation preventing the Imperial House from ever asserting any actual political power (although, I actually think the current Constitution does that quite well). All of which I largely agree on.

I do not agree with stated goals of completely ending all alliance with the US, declaring 100% neutrality, getting rid of all defense forces, or changing the flag and national anthem. I believe these specific goals go too far, and ultimately, are dangerous to Japan's ability to maintain its independence. No American who lives here for any stretch of time will actually believe that Japan is some sort of de fact territory or satellite nation in any way other than military policy.
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Re: Upcoming Japanese Elections

Postby Amaterasu » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:26 pm

Ah, alright. Strange to hear about marxist parties in other countries. Since the United States just has 2 right-wing parties.
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Re: Upcoming Japanese Elections

Postby MimS » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:12 am

Sad you can't be citizen of both US and Japan...
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