Last time I gave a simple overview of Japan's political scene as the country prepares for a general election on December 16. While the two major political parties in Japan -- the currently ruling Democratic Party of Japan and their main opposition, the Liberal Democratic Party -- are more or less known quantities, there's a "third force" in the Japanese political scene this time around. It's the Japan Restoration Party, formed by Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto and his new partner, former Tokyo governor Shintaro "Bane of Otaku" Ishihara. Hashimoto is a lawyer who was a regular fixture on variety shows (go figure), but he quit the entertainment world to become governor of Osaka Prefecture, and later major of the city. Ishihara, who wrote "The Japan That Can Say No" back in the 80s, managed to get Tokyo operating efficiently despite his penchant for making inflammatory statements about women and foreigners. (The riots in China are absolutely attributable to his attempts to make the Senkaku islands part of Tokyo, which forced the national government to step in instead.) The Japan Restoration Party says it will increase defense spending, amend the Japanese Constitution to give its military a proper legal status, and restore Japan's economic influence in the world. Of course, it doesn't matter which party is able to form a majority and choose Japan's next Prime Minister. The minute someone takes the position of leader of Japan, everyone from the press to every other politician will start criticizing and tearing down the new PM until he steps down a year or so later in shame.
Otakus react to Mr. Ishihara's new national party.