Friday, October 20, 2017

Tracking Koike's ambition 17

Tracking Koike's ambition, Day 17, 17 October 2017

This is not weather for campaigning. It is cold. It is wet.  You have to give credit to everyone for their robust campaigning in these conditions.

The social media battle between Kibo and the RikkenDs continues to atract media interest. Kibo's twitter account is growing, now around 10,000 (Koike's personal account is at almost 500,000) while the RikkenDs are going all out to hit 200,000. The RikkenDs continue to use twitter's promoted tweet space as well.

Social media use is an inevitable element of modern psephology...

We talked yesterday about Renho, former leader, but there are two other former party leaders worth highlighting, partly for their longevity and for their commitment. Both are on the progressive side of politics having signed up in the Doi Takako era of the late 1980s-early 1990s when women's backlash against the old-LDP-boys-club was piqued. It also makes them both contemporaries of Koike and long-term parliamentarians.

Tsujimoto Kiyomi entered parliament in 1996 with the encouragement of Doi and has been subsequently re-elected six times. She is standing in the electorate of Osaka 10 as a candidate for the RikkenDs (having started with the Socialist Party--but party lineage is a project for another day, another post). Her two male opponents are both younger (she is 57, they are 46 and 48) one for the LDP, one for the conservative, Kibo-aligned Ishin, a Osaka-centric party meaning that Tsujimoto is the only progressive choice for voters.

The other woman on the hustings is upper house member of the Social Democratic Party, Fukushima Mizuho. The SDP is really all that now (barely) exists following the shakedown of parties in the 1990s. Nonetheless, Fukushima remains committed to the ideals and is a strong campaigner whose identification with the party has seen her in demand. She was first elected in the 1998 upper house election and since been re-elected four times, centred n Kanagawa, south of Tokyo. She is also a graduate of the Law Faculty of Tokyo Univeristy, long-considered the stepping stone for a prestigious career. She took over leadership of the party when Doi stepped down following electoral defeat in 2003. Big shoes to fill and much expectation. She remained in the role until 2013, a long term in the life of Japanese politics. She presently sits with a loose grouping of independents in the upper house, including the charismatic Yamamoto Taro. Another woman with vast experience who will no doubt have an important role to play in sorting through the non-LDP forces in the upper house in the wake of the eection.

Both Tsujimoto and Fukushima engage extensively on social media platforms. And as contemporaries (effectively) of Koike, both offer differentiation on the 'idea' of the female Japanese politician...a component of this research.