Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tracking Koike's Ambition 13

Tracking Koike's ambition, Day 13, 13 October 2017

Candiates are facing up to the only full weekend of campaigning tomorrow and Sunday. Next Saturday will be the last day of campaigning before the election on Sunday 22 October. What can Koike do by then to boost the support and more significantly, turn that crowd support into actual votes. Voter mobilisation, with non-compulsory voting, requires a much bigger effort for parties other than the LDP and Komeito. (LDP's base is pretty rusted on and Komeito draws largely from a loyalist affiliation with the Soka Gakkai--a quasi-Buddhist 'new' religion.) 

Koike's video, challenging the old (LDP) politics
Today's blog highlight is a candidate who has come into view through some savvy social media use, JCP candidate and incumbent (on the party list) Ikeuchi Saori, 35. She is one of three candidates in Tokyo 12 where her opponents are men, one independent and one, the incumbent Ota, of the Komeito. 

She is a strong campaigner against 'hate speech' as it is called here in Japan, fights for 'comfort women' and is a strong advocate for LGBQTI rights. Her campaign is characterised by rainbow colours.

Part of the aim of my research project is to in fact, demonstrate the diversity of women in politics in Japan. Ikeuchi is a young committed activist having joined the JCP at age 21. She is a graduate of Chuo University. She won her seat in 2014 on her third attempt having stood in both the 2009 and 2012 elections. Her political life has been nurtured as a member of the JCP youth divisions. She is a savvy user of social media including twitter, facebook and youtube. On her blog, she records her parliamentary actions including speeches and committee work and examples of her engaging with the community. 

In an era when criticism of young people points to their apathy and inaction, Ikeuchi is a stand out in the crowd. The point to watch this time is whether or not the new Rikken Ds will draw votes from the Communists on the party list and make it harder for candidates like Ikeuchi to hold her position. The Rikken Ds and JCP are going to have to consider some serious consolidation talks after this election if there is to be a strong opposition and two party system in Japan, post LDP-Abe.

Off on the hustings tomorrow.