Thursday, October 03, 2013

Electioneering at its finest

It's October here in Iwate and the rest of the world too by chance, Autumn is here as the nights get a lot colder and the days cool down too.
Last weekend there were local elections in Ichinoseki, for the post of Mayor and other positions in town. I was up in Morioka on Sunday filming so I missed the big day, but I experienced the build up to the fourth election I have seen in three years in Japan. (2011, 2012 and two in 2013).
It seems elections are a regular occurrence in Japan. Every morning I drove to school at 7.30 I would pass a van parked on a main intersection and people with microphones would introduce themselves to cars waiting for the lights to go green.
A van outside my apartment building.
These vans then did the rounds most of every day up until about 8pm in the evening, with an introduction message repeated and several people with their hands stuck out the window with white gloves waving like the Queen of England. It's all very ... fake I guess. Apparently they are only allowed to talk policy in a forum with the other candidates present. More relevant for the parliamentary elections, but I wonder if people are voting for people depending on how nice they sound.
What is more amazing is the fact that people don't retaliate towards these vans, which truly appears as no more than noise pollution. I think if politicians went about elections this way in Australia the vans would end up egged very quickly indeed.
Still, elections are better than no elections. Right?

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