View Full Version : Koizumi recruits celebrities to run in election as LDP candidates

Sep 8, 2005, 17:20
BBC News : Koizumi's 'assassins' get set for poll (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4219110.stm)

Japan's prime minister, with his penchant for waltzing with movie stars and dressing down, is already known as something of a maverick.
But his latest move is probably his most controversial yet - he has lined up a raft of celebrities and political novices to run on his ticket in Sunday's election.

Many have been dubbed Mr Koizumi's "assassins" by the Japanese media because they are standing against more than 20 former members of the prime minister's own party, whom he wants removed from parliament.

Mr Koizumi is so keen to get rid of the rebels because they voted down a key reform proposal last month and he banned them from running for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as a result.

The "assassins", also dubbed "female ninjas", include Satsuki Katayama, a former Miss Tokyo University turned finance ministry bureaucrat, and Environment Minister Yuriko Koike, a household name as a one-time news anchorwoman.

They also include Takafumi Horie, an internet entrepreneur known for his spiky hair and brash image. Although he is technically running as an independent, Mr Horie is a keen supporter of the prime minister.
Makiko Fujino, a celebrity chef whom Mr Koizumi is hoping will unseat the Democratic Party (DPJ) incumbent in South Nagoya, has freely admitted that she cannot debate on any subject except food.

Is that American style politics ? Mixing entertainment and political decisions that affect hundreds of millions of people ? At least we can't blame Koizumi for not trying to radically change the face of Japanese politics by firing the old guard and giving a new lease of life to the party. Anyway, as the leader of a party makes the decision for the whole party in Japan, this can only makes the matter easier for Koizumi afterwards. The freshers are probably not going to stand against his decisions like the old guard did.

Mr Koizumi's strategy is risky because the electorate, faced with a choice between inexperienced LDP candidates and former LDP members with now limited political clout, may hand their votes to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

Let's hope so.

That new LDP would also potentially count far more women among its ranks - most of Mr Koizumi's "assassins" are female, and the ruling party has also put women top of all 11 proportional-representation blocks.

So Mr wannabe Richard Geere wants a harem in his cabinet ?

Critics of the "assassins" plan have accused Mr Koizumi of pulling a cheap stunt which values style over substance.

This is probably going to work even more than with a US audience. So many Japanese are so completely ignorant of politics that style will prime over substance.

Sep 8, 2005, 19:32
Is that American style politics ? Mixing entertainment and political decisions that affect hundreds of millions of people ?
This is actually a global phenomomenon and not restricted to the US or Japan. I remember that during the last election in my country the major parties recruited actors, TV announcers and athletes. Hasn't had any significant influence on the electorate, but made campaigns much more entertaining.


Sep 8, 2005, 23:52
this has more to do with folks voting the straight LDP party line than anything else. Whomever the LDP puts up for the spot over the last 50 years with basically one exception, wins the seat.
It doesn't matter who they are or what they do. This is about mr koizumi and his reforms. A vote for the LDP is a vote for reform.

Sep 9, 2005, 10:46
The economist has a good summary of the situation : Voting for a new Japan (http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4374352)

Sep 9, 2005, 13:23
Hmm. Sounds like my country's situation...

Sep 10, 2005, 11:04
Follow up, mostly about what kin of person Koizumi is => BBC News : Koizumi hopes gamble pays off (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4229250.stm)

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is about the only Japanese politician anyone anywhere else in the world can identify.
"The public and the media call Koizumi 'undemocratic' or 'dictatorial' for calling this election," said Ofer Feldman, a professor at Doshisha University.

"But what we see here is a typical Western style of leadership. He made a decision, acted on it and has made clear he's prepared to take responsibility for it. The Japanese are not used to this kind of style."
"The annoying thing is that Koizumi has portrayed himself in such a way as to say if you vote against me you are not voting for reform. But really his agenda has... been all about himself. What he wants."
If he loses, and the LDP is no longer in power or is forced to share it in a grand coalition with the opposition DPJ, again the future direction of Japan will change significantly.

Some say Japan has reached maturity more than half a century after its democratic system was put in place.

But others warn that - as ever in this country - this is really just the first step.

So Koizumi, the good-looking Richard Geere wannabe and friend of GW Bush, would be the first Western-style Japanese Prime Minister. I can see indeed in this new tactics of firing the old guard and calling an election designed to destroy his opponent, that he is acting completely differently from the typical Japanese style of politics. Is this maturity ? I would say it is more mature than the "traditional" style, but as the article says, it is probably just the first step. Let's see if other politicians (especially Mr Okada of the DPJ) follow his "matured style" if the LDP loses this election. Interestingly, this election has taken the appearance of a presidential election.

Nov 6, 2005, 17:10
"Poodle-Hed" Koizumi might be dangerous in his stupidity. The only reasons the international scene RECOGNIZE him is as dictatorial & Undemocratic w. a penchent for Richard Gere. Perhaps this is not a dangerous situation because we all know that Japan MUST COPY everything and they are still going through it retroactively!!

So let's keep watching attentively.

Nov 6, 2005, 17:13
Ahhh the true miyasma/swamp/convenience of Oriental thinking???? Do they think?

Nov 6, 2005, 19:49
And the fact that Poodle Hed has been the only Japanese politician worth looking at for.......since after the 2nd world war. I think Japan has purposely chosen supremely ugly people to represent their international "Face". Now, let's do a parade of 'wuglies' I'll try to get that together as a mug lineup

Nov 7, 2005, 12:00
Well, first off, PM Koizumi's political strategy worked, as his new LDP coalition won the last round of elections. Koizumi's Children, as these new and often inexperienced candidates have been dubbed, have shown something by their election to office - the Japanese people (at least the ones who decided to vote) are tired of the status quo in Japanese politics and are desiring change and reform.

Of course, it is too much to expect that the entire system will change overnight. True reform that does not involve the violent overthrow of an existing government takes time, time, time! And even then I would imagine there could be periods of detente, such as occured in Japanese politics following WWII under the auspices of SCAP leadership. But, with the ascent of Koizumi's Children to political power, I think there is at least some small momentum to change Japanese politics.

What shall be interesting to see is if these new politicians will survive Koizumi's planned step-down next year from the PM-ship. I imagine that many of the 'old guard' LDP members will be out for blood around that time.

Personally, I do not see anything wrong with new and/or inexperienced politicians. First, newness/inexperience does not equal stupidity. Secondly, one of the common complaints against the entrenched hardliners of the LDP is that they were sunk deep into corruption and relationships of shady backscratching. I think one hope with the new elected officials is that they, at least for the time being, exist outside of those webs of corruption coming as they do from outside the established political system. Thirdly, even if an elected politician is a complete *****, if the people vote that person in, hey, you gotta give the people what they want, ne? (Reminds me of my own country . . . *sigh*)

And, finally, because I just feel the need to respond and retort:

"Poodle-Hed" Koizumi might be dangerous in his stupidity. The only reasons the international scene RECOGNIZE him is as dictatorial & Undemocratic w. a penchent for Richard Gere. Perhaps this is not a dangerous situation because we all know that Japan MUST COPY everything and they are still going through it retroactively!!

1. What do you mean by "Poodle-Hed"? I think if you are going to use pejorative terms, you could at least explain what you mean by them. I'm not saying that you can't call someone a "Poodle-Hed" if you want to; hey, I think forums are a great place for people to vent their thoughts as openly as possible. But, really, sometimes insults can just detract from your argument rather than support it, especially if you don't explain an obscure insult (or does PM Koizumi's head really look like a poodle to you?).

2) I think PM Koizumi is recognized on the international scene for two reasons. First, he is often seen as a renegade reformer of the Japanese plotical system. Secondly, he is sometimes seen as representative of Japanese arrogance for his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. I have not in personal discussion, reading books, taking university classes, and perusing news articles run across depictions of PM Koizumi as being dictatorial or undemocratic.
When you say that the only reason that PM Koizumi is recognized on the international scene for being dictatorial and undemocratic, what experiences, information, or sources lead you to hold this view?
You might be somewhat right about the Richard Gere thing, however . . . :D

3) The Japanese "MUST COPY everything"? Are you saying that the Japanese possess no originality what-so-ever? :?

Ahhh the true miyasma/swamp/convenience of Oriental thinking???? Do they think?

Gee, celtician, I don't know; do 'they' think? :? But, more importantly, what is it that you are trying to say 'they' are thinking? Could you, please, explain what you mean by 'true miyasma/swamp/convenience of Oriental thinking'?
Please, help me try to understand your arguments, celtician. I don't mind dialogue with people who hold a differing view than my own - viva la difference, ne? But, I just get so aggravated over unexplained arguments . . . PM Koizumi is a 'poodle hed'? Japanese 'MUST COPY' everything? 'True Oriental Thinking'? If that is all you are going to write, then my response is, "No, you're wrong!" :auch:

Oops . . . I ranted rudely . . . *sigh* . . . gomen. :sorry:

Dec 20, 2005, 22:41
We all rant it's just the way of getting something STUPID out of yer system!