I was up late following the election results online with the folks from TPR and MFT. I even got a small shout out on the broadcast when I contributed a useless piece of trivia on ドーラン. Needless to say, it was an exciting night for political junkies, such as myself. The results were almost a complete flip-flop over the last Lower House election, with the DPJ coming out with a win of historic proportions. How the DPJ and LDP adapt to being in unfamiliar positions is what everyone is wondering about now. Because while last night's results were historic, they were somewhat expected based on the polling data coming in during the days leading up to the election, no one knows exactly what to expect with this shift in power dynamics. But I'll leave you to read other smarter people's analysis on what might happen, and the factors that might come into play. I'm here to write about Tokyo's 19th district.
I had predicted a DPJ win, with a possible PR seat for the LDP candidate, with the JCP coming in third, and the HRP and independent candidates bringing up the rear in that order. I wan't wrong on the Suematsu (DPJ) win, but I had given Matsumoto's empty youth campaign too much credit. Matsumoto was one of 67 Koizumi children (out of 77) who did not manage to defend their seat. I think if he were able to present something more substantive than his youthful everyman schtick, he might have done a bit better. But as it was, Matsumoto's defeat to Suematsu was significant. Matsumoto lost around 33,000 votes compared to the last Lower House election in 2005. All of those votes seem to have gone to Suematsu. That defeat was one of the bigger ones the LDP faced in Tokyo, and Matsumoto's adjusted PR rank was 14 (out of 18 LDP losers). That rank was well below the rank needed (5) to get a seat through PR. Shimizu (JCP) actually increased his vote count from the last election by 49 votes. The most shocking part of last night's results were the numbers for Takahashi (Ind) and Ishida (HRP). While I did not expect Ishida to do particularly well, I did expect him to garner more votes than the crazy lady with the the fucked up manifesto. As it turns out 2912 people voted for the crazy independent lady, compared to 2740 people for the crazy party-affiliated man. I'm seriously hoping that people in the 19th district voted for Takahashi on a lark, rather than because they identified with her platform. (Which BTW I finally got a hold of, and the whole thing is crazier than the excerpt.) Overall voting in the district went up by 3% (or 10,083 votes) with most of the new votes going fairly evenly towards Suematsu and the two crazies. I also recently discovered that all candidates have to pay a ¥3 million (about CAN$ 35,000) deposit to stand for election, the deposit is only returned if you garner 10% of the vote. Given that high cost, I wonder whether this exercise was worth it for Takahashi and Ishida.
So that wraps up my election coverage. I'll try to do more features that force me to read Japanese and summarize them into (somewhat sarcastic) English. So until next time, remember not to underestimate the electoral appeal of the crazy independent lady.