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News Opposition candidate wins Yokohama mayoral election

thomas

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In a severe blow to PM Suga, an opposition-backed candidate has been elected the new mayor of Yokohama city. Takeharu Yamanaka is a former professor at Yokohama City University and hadn't been involved in politics previously. He opposes the development of the suggested casino resort around Yamashita Pier.


takeharu-yamanaka.jpg


Takeharu Yamanaka’s victory dealt a serious blow to Suga as it will almost certainly fuel calls to replace him as head of his Liberal Democratic Party. Yamanaka, 48, a former professor of health data science at Yokohama City University, wooed voters with his “adamant opposition” to the city’s bid to host a casino-centered integrated resort and calls to prioritize measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The election was closely watched by politicians at the national level who viewed it as a bellwether for a crucial Lower House election scheduled in the weeks ahead. Although he ran as an independent, Yamanaka had the support of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, eager to see its candidate entrenched in the city where Suga’s constituency is based. Yamanaka’s main rival was Hachiro Okonogi, a former chairman of the National Public Safety Commission backed by Suga. Okonogi, 56, also campaigned to halt the city’s plan to host the casino project. The election outcome had important implications as the prime minister struggles with dismal public approval ratings over his government’s handling of the pandemic, now at its most critical stage. Voter turnout was 49.05 percent, compared with 37.21 percent in the previous election four years ago. A record eight candidates ran in the election.


My in-laws also supported Mr Yamanaka, not so much in opposition to the planned casino but the ruling party.


 

Lothor

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The higher voter turnout is also promising.

My main concern about the opposition getting in at the next election is not their competence or lack of it (because I don't believe they could possibly be less competent than the current incumbents) but the fact that the LDP seem to have their tentacles absolutely everywhere in society, a non-LDP government will be seen as a temporary aberration, and as a result the establishment will be working together to undermine government policies as much as possible, particularly with the introduction of LDP-appointed civil servants under Abe's premiership. The previous non-LDP government between 2009 and 2012 found that they were not able to get much done despite having some bold ideas about reducing the construction state, and I don't think this can be put down to just poor leadership.

On the other hand, it's about time the public showed some assertiveness and told the LDP that there are limits to their incompetence and the greed and utter nastiness of some of their members.
 
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thomas

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I believe we will see an increasing number of independent local candidates elected into office as even the most pigheaded strata of the electorate will sooner or later realise that the LDP gerontocracy doesn't deliver anymore. The Abe administration was an abomination of corruption and failed nationalist pipe dreams. The Suga tenure has been a staccato of incompetence, lacking leadership and aimless policy shifts. True, it's the technocracy in the ministries and agencies that pulls the strings, but every independent candidate will have a little impact - one step at a time. I have often wondered why the "official" opposition parties - Minshuto, the Social Democrats, the Communists - don't get their act together... I guess it's is difficult to gain exposure and popularity when the mass media are largely compliant with the administration and its policies.
 
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