The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

The Plot Thickens

Just heard that the leaders of the Spirit of Japan or the Japan Innovation Party as they are sometimes called (Nippon Soshinto) have decided to fold up their own operations and throw their lot in with Toru Hashimoto.

The President of the Spirit of Japan Party is the former mayor of Tokyo Suginami ward, Hiroshi Yamada, seen in the image above campaigning for the House of Councillors elections in 2010. I seemed to keep running into him that year!

He along with the party’s Secretary General, Hiroshi Nakada (former mayor of Yokohama) will stand as candidates for the Japan Restoration Party in the next election, which is expected to be called by an unpopular Prime Minister Noda sometime this autumn.

Interestingly their party policy Chief, was the former governor of  Yamagata, Hiroshi Saito. Don’t know why they didn’t just call themselves the HIroshi Party!

This could all be, of course, the desperate grouping together of nationalists to ensure a singular message and weight the chances in favour of a success that might be prove more elusive than hoped for. Yet the sheer momentum of  Hashimoto’s party in gathering acolytes is troubling. There appears to be an inevitability to this group’s assumption of some form of political power, great or small, and that “can’t be helped” feeling is exactly what the electorate don’t need. Because Japanese voters tend to vote the way the media is suggesting the result will go. Deep thought about the repercussions of the choices you make as a voter is not the strongest feature of Japanese election history.

As I argued before ,when the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) wrested power  from the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) in 2009, after 50 years of almost continuous governance, I do not think many people actively voted for the DPJ, they voted against the LDP. And the reason they did that, despite being, at heart LDP conservatives, was the feeling that the DPJ was going to win anyway. By this time the the LDP had become so toxic, with a long list of failed Prime Ministers and failing policy that even it’s most ardent supporters felt it needed to be taught a lesson. I strongly suspect many that voted for the DPJ in 2009 fully expected the new government to fail within a year or two and the return of a chastened but familiar LDP to power. Indeed I think many people wanted that.

I worry that the same thing will happen again now, the short sharp shock of defeat delivered as a message for the main parties to pull their act together. Problem is when Hashimoto gets power, I have the feeling he is not going to give it up easily.

Like I said in the last post, interesting times.

More stock images of Hiroshi Yamada, of the now defunct, Spirit of Japan Party at my archive here.




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