Friday, October 20, 2017

Tracking Koike's Ambition 18

Tracking Koike's ambition, Day 18, 18 October 2017

It must be the worst weather to be campaigning. Apart from a brief moment today, the weather has been frankly, atrocious. Raining mostly, but also cold. Part of me can't help but take my hat off to the leaders as they make their way around the country in this weather. 

A brief moment in the sun
Today Koike was due to campaign just a few stations down the line from my area; alas, in the other direction and I had classes to attend. During the morning, she targeted Saitama, including the 4th district, where Toyota is standing as an independent, as mentioned earlier this week. Koike's schedule today included some governor duties as well and then in the evening, back out in the rain and a little further afield to Gunma and Tochigi. 

On the party's twitter account, she has taken to posting a short video, about a minute or so, reporting on the day's events and the outlook for tomorrow. The twitter account is slowly gathering a following, it is up to about 12,000 now, a long way behind the RikkenDs but steadily improving. 

The use of social media in this election is certainly worth reviewing. I suspect that usage reflects demographics in much the same way we would expect in Australia. There is an additional Japanese platform, Line, very popular with younger people but I haven't ventured there yet. 

The media being the media, is moving into that self-reflection mode already, bemoaning the lack of policy debate and a focus on the machinations of the opposition parties, particularly the tussle between Koike and Edano, Kibo and the RikkenDs. Abe is making quite something of all this, making claims about his government's  economic achievements without a lot of scrutiny. It is also interesting to watch LDP candidates emphasise the 'North Korean problem' as, effectively, a way to disguise a much-needed constitutional debate. By citing the North Korean problem, if he wins, Abe can claim he had a mandate on security and move on Constitutional revision. 

During this week, I have been at liberty to raise the election with students I teach, it is the political science department after all, and asking them their views. For many of the students it will be their third opportunity to vote since the voting age was reduced to 18 (it was 20 previously). It seems that for the small sample of 20 year olds I teach, with a few exceptions, the significance and likelihood of constitutional revision is not causing much concern among this cohort. 

It will be interesting to see their reactions to the result next week.