Decision 2017! Your Japan Election Questions Answered
It’s election season in Japan right now, and this Sunday Japanese voters will head to their polling place to cast votes for their candidate of choice. Here’s a breakdown of the important Japan election related issues.
- Japan has a British-style parliamentary system in which major and minor parties compete for seats in both legislative houses. The party that’s able to win a majority, either alone or in a coalition, forms a government. Seats are allotted according to an apportionment system, so that even parties with small representation get some seats.
- While Americans often lament the limitations of our two party system, Japan is proof that you can have many political parties and still have few good choices. There’s one large party, Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled Japan nearly nonstop since the end of WWII. It’s pro-business, pro-agriculture, and has a close relationship with the U.S.
- Major opposition parties are the Party of Hope, headed by Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, the Komeito (the unofficial arm of the Sokkai Gakkai evangelical Buddhist religion), the Japan Communist Party, and the cutely named Party for Japanese Kokoro.
- Japanese leaders usually have very short careers, being chased out of office by low support ratings after a year or so. In the 26 years I’ve been here, there have only been five prime ministers in the United Kingdom, while Japan has burned through 15.
- Traditionally, Japanese politicians have driven around in loudspeaker vans shouting “I am Tanaka! Please support me! I will work hard for you!” as loudly as they can, though everyone hates this. Recently politicians seem to have discovered this thing called “Twitter,” and so far this election cycle has been quiet and peaceful.
- The issues in the current Japan election including making the right moves to counter North Korea, the ongoing health of the economy, a proposed consumption tax hike from 8% to 10% and various political scandals.
- As with many democracies, voter turnout can be low, especially with younger citizens. Governments tackle the problem by promoting the election dates with anime and other cute characters.
- While most Japanese politicians are pretty boring, this guy appeared with his cat in his official election poster. Therefore he should become the next Prime Minister after the Japan election.
I was casting around for some anime to watch the other day, and dedicated to check out the new Infini-T Force because I saw it was made by Tatsunoko Production, the venerable animation studio that made everything from Speed Racer to Macross to Megazone 23. I’m normally very wary of 100% CGI-based anime and only watched Knights of Sidonia because it was excellent. Infini-T Force is the story of Emi, a charismatic high school girl living in Shibuya who comes into possession of a magic pencil that summons heroes from other worlds to her. And not just any heroes, but the main characters from Tatsunoko’s famous past works, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Casshern and Hurricane Polymar. It’s a fun show for fans of the original works (or the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom game), as well as any girl who fantasizes about strong, hunky anime guys appearing out of nowhere to protect her.
We love to carry awesome manga from Japan, and stock both great all-ages manga titles, as well as the naughtier kind. Recently we added a bunch of great manga, in Japanese but with hiragana beside the kanji characters to make them easy to read. Browse our new manga now!