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The Bigger Picture

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  • The Bigger Picture

    I know full well that the aliens who call Japan home often do so for limited periods of time but for those long-timers (and all interested parties) who are here for the foreseeable future I have a question:

    Doesn't anybody care about who, as elected representatives, the residents of your home area choose to serve the public?

    I ask for a simple reason - I live in Adachi-ku and yesterday an election took place for both mayoral and local rep positions to be decided.
    However, an early morning trawl through the English language media turned up nothing bar a view on Tokushima's (gubernatorial?) election. The Japanese media did inform me of who won, who lost and which party they belong to fortunately but is "interest" and "knowledge" of the bigger picture something no-one in the foreign community cares about or am I missing something?

    A bemused MB

  • #2
    Re: The Bigger Picture

    I have no interest in politics here.Can't understand what the politicians are saying anyway.


    • #3
      Re: The Bigger Picture

      In Kanagawa, there are many materials distributed by local politicians, but all in the Japanese language; while the small local newspapers also report in detail their local issues. Temporary and permanent party offices are open till late, and staff are quite willing to talk, sometimes it is hard to stop them.

      But, shouldn't you be asking your question to regarding "no interest" to the media representatives?

      Unless foreigners are given a chance to vote, there is no incentive to communicate in any other language than Japanese. And the first two languages used will be Chinese and Korean, for the zainichi residents, who take much more interest in local affairs than the temporary visitors from Europe, North America and Australia/NZ.

      And if you really want to vote, just get Japanese citizenship.


      • #4
        Re: The Bigger Picture

        Appreciate the comments th and totally support what you said about zainichi and the 'fairness' of language distribution in your 3rd paragraph.

        The original post wasn't about being able to vote though - that leads eleswhere and has many forks in the road methinks - my original question was why don't people seem to care (foreign people that is - inclusive of minorities from NZ / Can US / UK etc etc) about what is happening around them.

        The media idea "But, shouldn't you be asking your question to regarding "no interest" to the media representatives?" you asked is fair (other forks in the road there) and I have considered it but again it veers from the 'why don't non-Japanese seem to care'

        Are we guilty of living in the little enclosed worlds many 'westerners' accuse the Japanese of inhabilting?



        • #5
          Re: The Bigger Picture

          My father in law is member of the prefectural assembly in a rural area. In some manners, elections and campaigning are the same in japan as they are in the states. In the US, the media is owned by about 5 companies whose political views encompass a very narrow range of the political spectrum. Same in Japan, though most political issues seem to get significantly less coverage for some reason.

          The whole political process seems to be very un democratic, with decisions made behind closed doors and the public given nothing but patronizing rhetoric. Again though, this isn't much different from the situation in the US. People seem to question the status quo much less here, at least in terms of how the country is governed. While the rest of the world has been swept up in massive anti war and anti globalization protests, the turnouts in Tokyo and other cities were much smaller, expecially considering how many people live there.