Tokyo Notes

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Is the ruling party resorting to tactics of Japan’s superficial political past?

The news that the Democratic Party of Japan is to field a female judo star in the upcoming upper house election may have warmed the hearts of sentimental sports fans, but it turned me cold.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ryoko Tani was unveiled as a candidate by the DPJ on Monday, according to the Japan Times. While the party has plenty of problems it needs to get a good grip on, wheeling out a judoka still committed to winning gold at the London Olympics next year hardly drives home the image of a party of serious politicians committed to tackling the nation’s problems.

Cashing in on a person’s popularity is the kind of gimmick long used by the Liberal Democratic Party to win votes without the inconvenience of a profound policy stance.

The DPJ made a real fuss about last year’s election being the first in Japan to focus on manifestos. Now the party is encountering so many difficulties delivering the promises made in its manifesto, is it surprising that it’s starting to resort to tried and tested tactics of Japan’s superficial political past?