Now that I’ve covered my local race, now it’s time to take a brief look at some of the more notable candidates for Tokyo’s 17 proportional representation seats. I am limiting myself to candidates who are only running for PR seats, not those who have doubled up with a simultaneous candidacy in a single member district (With two exceptions: The DPJ’s Tairo Hirayama and LDP’s Ichiro Kamoshita are both running as PR candidates in the first spot in addition to Tokyo’s 13th). This means we are scraping the bottom of the barrel – candidates included just in case the party does well. We can’t be sure any party really believes in these people, but they are trustworthy enough to gain party backing.
Keiichiro Nakayama, political commentator (People’s New Party, never before elected) – A former Yomiuri reporter turned independent commentator who served as a member of Yoshiro Mori’s PR team when he was prime minister (not exactly a stellar record…) He ran for the upper house in 2007 under the PNP ticket but lost. He has penned several books, apparently getting his big break covering the short-lived Takeo Miki administration (Miki took over from Kakuei Tanaka following the Lockheed bribery scandal and overreached in his efforts to achieve political reform), and seems to have made his career as one of those political reporters who becomes a mouthpiece and fixer for the politicians he’s supposed to be covering as a journalist.
Kazuo Ishida, LDP Tokyo Prefecture staffer (LDP, age 65, never before elected) – Ishida is the 28th and final candidate on the LDP’s PR roster. In 2005, their last choice for PR candidates was Taizo Sugimura, who got in and has come to be widely considered a disaster. It’s possible they decided to go with the safest possible candidate (a lifelong party man who has no delusions of grandeur or, from the looks of it, any real ambition).
Junichiro Yasui, lower house member (LDP, never before elected) – Yasui is one of the Koizumi children who won his diet seat in 2005 on the wave of LDP support for Koizumi’s postal privatization plan. He’s a dropout of Waseda University but was known as the head of the Waseda retail district (one of the familiar-looking shotengai that you see around Japan). Once again he is low on the PR list and will probably not make it in this time.
Masaaki Kuniyasu, former ambassador to Venezuela, former ambassador to Portugal (LDP, age 71, never before elected) – This guy doesn’t look happy to be running for election with such slim hopes of victory. He’s also toward the bottom of the LDP’s Tokyo PR list. According to his Asahi questionnaire, he’d like to see Japan known as a “an environmentally advanced nation.” It appears that he (or someone with the same name) wrote a book in 1996 titled The Truth Behind The Philippines’ People Power Revolution.
Eiko Ishige, NPO board member, author (DPJ, age 71, reelected three times) – Thanks to Jiji I know she her sign is a Leo. Her field of specialty is elderly benefits, and she has written several books on the topic, including The Elderly and Welfare (A Book to Understand the Elderly). Judging from the title of one of her books, she considers herself a citizen activist. Her name has a difficult kanji for Ei that won’t show up when you try to search for it.
– The Happiness Realization Party has adopted a strategy of placing recognizable names in their PR spots. The bassist from the Blue Hearts, a manga artist, and shady inventor Doctor Nakamats are all there in the Tokyo block. The former two are apparently believers, but Nakamats is just looking for cheap promotion just as he was when he ran to be Tokyo governor in 2007. He charges exorbitant amounts for dubious-looking inventions such as the Love Jet 69 sex toy available for 30,000 yen plus shipping.
OK, that’s it for now! You can see me tomorrow night with the live coverage of the election results with the good people at Transpacific Radio.