I have upped and left the neon-lit metropolis of Tokyo for the smaller (but no less neon) City of Nagoya. For the next month I will be following the fortunes of the Local Election candidates for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in the 2nd Ward of Aichi Prefecture (composed of Chikusa, Moriyama and Meito wards), charting their rise or fall from the inside. [An introduction to the area can be found here--follow links to the English page] The Local Election period kicks off on March 30th, so preparations have already begun to move into overdrive.
Two votes, in multi-member districts, will be cast by the electorate--one for the City Council elections (below), and one for the Prefectural Assembly. I will be largely concentrating on the twists and turns of the City elections.
The current political layout for the City Council elections (in which the Democratic Party of Japan is currently the ruling party) is summarised below:
Orange = Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Blue = Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
Red = Japan Communist Party (JCP)
Pink = Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Yellow = Komeito
All incumbents standing for reelection unless otherwise specified
CANDIDATES (LDP--2; DPJ--2; JCP--1; Komeito--1)
Kunihiko Igami (LDP; 60)
Haruyuki Sakurai (LDP; 62)
Kuniko Umemura (DPJ; 68)
Makoto Saito (DPJ; 47)
Jiro Kuroda (JCP; 58)
[Takako Nishio (Komeito; RETIRED)]
Yuichi Tanabe (Komeito, 37)
 = not currently contesting
CANDIDATES (LDP--3; DPJ--3; Komeito--1; JCP--1)
Hitoshi Matsumura (LDP; 43)
Shingo Yoshida (DPJ; 56)
Nobuo Kamakura (DPJ; 49)
Nobuo Konba (Komeito; 46)
Tetsuya Togo (LDP; 35)
Yoshinori Matsui (LDP; 42)
Toshiyuki Ogawa (DPJ; 31)
Junko Kurematsu (JCP; 50)
CANDIDATES (LDP--1; DPJ--2; Komeito--2; SDP--1)
Masayuki Chikazawa (DPJ; 36)
Shoko Kobayashi (Komeito; 50)
Setsuko Tanaka (Komeito; 59)
Katsuzo Tomita (SDP; 73)
Hiroshi Niwa (LDP; 46)
Kentaro Hibi (DPJ; 26)
The two most exciting candidates are perhaps Kentaro Hibi (Meito Ward) and Toshiyuki Ogawa (Moriyama Ward), both young proteges of the local Member of the House of Representatives, the DPJ's Motohisa Furukawa.
Both, however, face a hard struggle to get into the City Council; Hibi must share the DPJ vote with another candidate against a tough LDP opponent and strong Komeito support, and Ogawa has a mammoth battle with three candidates being offered by each of the largest parties in Japanese politics, the LDP and DPJ.
This blog will be concentrating on the Moriyama and Meito political battles, introducing the key players, discussing their campaigns and cataloguing the results of their efforts.
R J F Villar