Cycling through Tokyo’s Suginami ward yesterday, I discovered this over-the-top poster of three Liberal Democratic Party politicians looking like they’ve come down with 1970s disco night fever. It is advertising the public meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) “Ceaseless Reform Speeches” at the headquarters of the Party from noon, September 10, 2009.
It comes at a time when the LDP, led by the abysmally unpopular Taro Aso, is struggling to maintain its traditional hold on power in Japan. Sunday, July 12, was the day for the election of members to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and is being seen as an important indicator of how the LDP is doing nationwide.
This poster features the three speakers (from left)
-Katsuei Hirasawa, a policitian who graduated from Duke University in the US, has close connections with security/police and diplomatic circles, and who in 2007 helped found the LDP sub-committee for the Korean peninsula issue, aiming to normalize relations with North Korea. Having begun his working life in television, he is (apparently) skilled in handling the media (not that it shows here!), and has written several books.
Nobuteru Ishihara, the eldest son of the reactionary Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara. He is presently at the center of the controversy surrounding the ShinGinko Tokyo Bank, founded upon his initiative in 2005 with 100 billion yen of the metropolitan government's money, and which, due to allegedly sloppy practices, is now 101.6 billion yen in the red. When criticized for using his political clout to influence the fortunes of the bank, his father came to his rescue saying that “using political clout is a politician’s job”!
Ichiro Kamoshita is originally a Ph.D. in medicine, who joined the LDP in 1997 after being with the Japan New Party. It was reported in the Japan Communist Party’s organ, Akahata (“Red Flag”), in September 2003 that he received political donations from the National Financial Political Association (the lobbying organ of the loan-shark industry).
The title of the poster is “Building Japan’s tomorrow!,” but in the context of the LDP’s present fortunes, those John Travolta poses, rather than (I presume) pointing a digit in the direction of the new day, look more like they’re counting how many chances remain for them: one.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009