Japan from the inside out

Not that into you

Posted by ampontan on Monday, September 6, 2010

IT WAS only one question in the latest political poll conducted by Shinhodo 2001, but the answer speaks volumes about voter sentiment.

Here’s the question:

The possibility has arisen that the ruling Democratic Party of Japan might break up after the party presidential election. What do you think they should do?

A. They should not split: 45.2%
B. They should split and move ahead with a political realignment: 43.2%
C. Don’t know/Other: 11.6%

The margin of error for most polls is ±3 points, which means that’s an even break between those who think the DPJ is a viable institution and those who think it’s a waste of time.

In other words, one year after the DPJ captured a lower house majority in a landslide and formed their first government, half of the public with an opinion–and nearly half of the public overall–is so disenchanted with the party they think it should just disappear. Begone! Out damned spot!

Will the DPJ take the hint and begin some serious soul-searching, both jointly and individually? Of course not. Political parties never do, until the brick wall falls on them.

Nevertheless, considering the party’s internal dynamics, and depending on the results of the presidential election, that half of the public who just isn’t all that into them might get its wish.

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5 Responses to “Not that into you”

  1. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Ampontan: I was reading this news today.

    In US, President is elected and would not change in the middle – President is personally elected even if not by direct votes by people (or so I understand). In Japan, a party is elected and would not change in the middle, and the party can choose prime minister even if that party allows foreign people to be members. LDP, Communist Party, Your Party, all conditions membership to Japanese nationals.

    Would appreciate your view.
    21csm: Don’t know exactly what view you want, but here goes.

    I think the Japanese system would work better, if:

    1. The parties did not select candidates for the Diet, but had primary elections instead. Let the party members in each district decide instead of bosses. Now the party that controls the Diet controls the government and members answer only to party leaders instead of the people where they live.

    2. They instituted stricter residency requirements so the parties could not recruit assassins or parachute candidates from another part of the country. The person representing Distict #1 from Fukuoka, for example, should be from District #1 in Fukuoka and not Saitama or Nagano.

    3. They should eliminate political party subsidies with taxpayer money. It is a scheme to keep the bigger parties entrenched in power.

    4. The only people who should be able to vote in Japan are Japanese citizens. I knew about foreigners voting as DPJ members, and mentioned it briefly in my post about the DPJ election.

    I disagree with the idea of giving permanent residents the right to “participate”, and I’ve got a permanent resident permit.

    Were you here when I wrote this? I do not care for these ideas at all.

    Is this what you wanted to know?

    – A.

  2. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Thank you. I was thinking foreigners to have votes as members of political parties and ruling party’s ability to elect prime minister could lead to electing PM having conflict of interests and thus questionable under constitution (just as pointed out by the professor reported in the embedded article

    Contrary to constitutional requirement of nationality for MPs but according to DPJ’s open policy for membership which can affect the result of presidency election (but after all Prime Minister is to be elected from among MPs and thus required to be Japanese), citizenship, in true sense, may not root in mere nationality. Any person living in one place contributing something for the benefit of fellow citizen can be entitled to participation in politics there.

    In theory.

    Could I ask the reason for your disagreement to the participation despite your permanent resident permit? Because it is not so common worldwide?
    1. You’d be surprised how many countries permit it. 20-40, I think, usually for special reasons.

    2. People who move to a different country and then want to vote in another country’s elections should show their commitment to that country by becoming a citizen. (Ren Ho thinks so too.) I think the zainichi group in Japan want to have their cake and eat it, too.

    Theodore Dalrymple was a prison psychiatrist in England. I agree with him:

    “The institutions that allow one to live in peace, freedom, and security require loyalty (not necessarily of a blind variety); and loyalty in turn requires a sense of identification. In a world in which sovereignty must exist, some kind of identification with that sovereignty is also necessary: too rigid a national identity has its dangers, but so does too loose a one. The first results in aggression toward and denigration of others; the second in society’s disintegration from within, which can then provoke authoritarian attempts at repair.

    Love of country has never implied for me an unawareness of its shortcomings or a hatred of other nations. I have lived happily abroad much of my life and have seen virtues in every country in which I have lived, some absent from my own. I feel vastly more at ease with cultivated foreigners than with many of the natives of the land of my birth.”

    Societies today that are too “multi-cultural” for the sake of being multi-cultural are disintegrating from within.

    The DPJ leaders don’t believe in nation-states. They have a one world utopia in mind.

    Except Ozawa maybe, and perhaps he just wants to keep the door open for large-scale Chinese immigration in the future. Who knows?

    One thing we do know. Most of them aren’t being honest.

    – A.

  3. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Then I skipped some reading which you asked me if I have read – your July 2 posts about DPJ. Now that I have gone through it, probably I should withdraw my earlier question to you. My conclusion is that as long as a nation works to keep it intact, it needs some border or cut-off, and measurement of contribution by foreigners can be at best subjective and highly vulnerable to conflicts of interest within (nationals). No nation can keeps itself if expanded indefinitely – group of people resolving into wider groups of people. I did not intend “match-pomp” (I believe this is Japanese expression), sorry for any waste of time you suffered.

  4. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    Ampontan: Thanks for deleting my meaningless post and for summing up your view on the issue with statements by Theodore Dalrymple, which seems to me more persuasive than abstract conclusion I reached myself.

  5. Roual Deetlefs said


    Thanks for the post. Me, I think a foreigner should partake in the politics of a country should he gain citizenship. My apologies for being different. You have every right to throw the Arab Caucus in the Knesset at me, but more than anything I’ve learned that no matter what you believe, no matter what conclusions you have made, there will come a set of circumstances, either existent or created, that will challenge those beliefs and those conclusions.

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