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J-News Mini-Roundup: “Talent” Governor, Candidate for Congressman?

June 23, 2009

Background: One of the most amusing parts of Japanese politics is the willingness for politicians to get involved in comedy shows. Although this might sound familiar in terms of American politicians joining Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, or Obama at Jay Leno, the Japanese air tons of comedy and game shows everyday, most of which do not have the star quality of a light night talk show. It is here where the “Talent” Governor, Hideo Higashikokubaru, appears so much that the average viewer wouldn’t recognize him as a governor.

A former comedian turned politician, Higashikokubaru-san uses the television to increase his popularity and discuss his political life. Today he was encouraged to be a candidate for the Diet by Koga-san, the head of the electoral commission. Each newspaper reported a different take on the event.

AsahiHigashikokubaru: If I were a candidate…” The Asahi reported more detailed commentary and remarks than the other papers. They claim that the head of the electoral commission for the LDP, Koga-san, stated that, “The LDP needs to change and develop power to reinvent itself.” They claimed that this comment was then a signal to Higashikokubaru that he needs to run for the Diet.

In response, Higashikokubaru-san stated he would get together with all the governors, and create a manifesto outlining how he would change the party going forward. He also said that “If I were a candidate, we’d have to talk more in depth about the conditions of my candidacy.”

Nikkei “Higashikokubaru Encouraged to be a Candidate” The most striking difference between the Asahi’s article and the Nikkei’s article is the Nikkei lacks all description of the event. It makes the reader wonder if the Asahi has articles that pay much more attention to detail, or more likely the Asahi added commentary that it saw appropriate, such as “The LDP needs to change…” Usually when the Nikkei reports political events it takes the more conservative, pro – LDP approach.

The Nikkei stated: “What was discussed between the governor and the head of the election commission is not clear, what is clear is that the governor did not announce his candidacy for the Diet.”

Yomiuri “Higashikokubaru: If I were the president of the LDP…” The Yomiuri had a slightly different take on the event vs. the Asahi and Nikkei. They claimed that Higashikokubaru-san stated his conditions for running as a member of the Diet, and in response the head of the electoral commission said “I’ve heard these conditions.” They turned the event into a conversation between Higashikokubaru-san and Koga-san, with Higashikokubaru-san requesting certain conditions be met before he becomes a candidate, and Koga-san stating he’ll think about it.

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