I would like to talk about politics and elections in Japan. What image do you have of Japanese politics and elections? I guess that you think the Japanese prime minister changes quickly, and this is true: the Japanese prime minister has changed 6 times in 6 years. Do you know their names? Probably, it will be difficult to answer their names correctly.
The first picture is of Shinzo Abe who was appointed as Japan’s 90th prime minister. He tried to improve Sino-Japan relations and Korea-Japan relationship. Second is Yasuo Fukuda who advocated reinforcement of US-Japan relationship when he was prime minister.
Third is Taro Aso, who carried out economic measures to protect Japan’s economy from the global financial crisis and economic slumps precipitated by the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy in 2008. Fourth is Yukio Hatoyama who was the first prime minister with a scientific degree.
Fifth is Naoto Kan. Probably, I think everyone have remembered him because he was prime minister when there was the 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku. The final picture, on the right, is of Yoshihiko Noda, the present prime minister. He will raise the consumption tax to 10%.
Japan is a constitutional monarchy, and so doesn’t have a president. Our leader is a prime minister. But Japanese citizens can’t elect our own top leader directly. Instead we can elect members of the delegation. The Prime minister is elected by the delegation. Also the amendments go through the delegation. So It is important to vote for the politician of the party because the party which secures more seats becomes the government party. They can carry out the policy to try to be realized for them. The Democratic Party of Japan is the political party actually in office. Before that, the Liberal Democratic Party had been the political party in office for long time. A lot of Japanese who were dissatisfied with LDP voted the democratic party on the election a few year ago. Japan does not change even if the party changes, and the stalemate between political parties continues, because the opposition and the government party are on almost equally represented. I don’t know whether it is the cause, but the government is receiving low approval rates from the people. Japanese people’s general lack of interest and optimism about politics may be a result of this.
In any case, citizens should participate in politics, not renounce their rights, and be able to say their own opinion. If you have complaints against government, I think that people should start to learn more and participate actively.