The ministry’s report found that early voting is up more than 50% from 2004, rising from approximately 260,000 votes to nearly 400,00 votes, with higher tallies recorded in every prefecture except Miyazaki and Kochi.
Mainichi concludes that the increase reflects heightened public interest in the Upper House elections.
It is tempting to conclude that this is a sign that turnout will be high this Sunday, signaling a desire among voters to show up and vote against the government. But there is a question mark in the title of this post because this could be a product of the decision to schedule the election in the midst of summer holidays — voters who would vote anyway on election day casting an early ballot before going on a vacation rather than an omen of a high participation rate on election day. It’s entirely plausible that the big rise in early voting could mean relatively depressed figures on Sunday.
Nevertheless, with less than a week before the election, the DPJ is in good shape, with some polls showing that the LDP might finish at the lower end of the range of my own predictions. The LDP’s stump speeches seem to be getting more desperate by the day, too.
Here’s LDP Secretary-General Nakagawa Hidenao in Tokushima: “Since we have had only ten months up to now, the speed of reform has proceeded faster than in Koizumi-san‘s time.” From actively trying to distance the Abe government from its predecessor to arguing that Abe-san is even more keen on reform than Koizumi — just look at how fast he’s going!
Nakagawa followed up that whopper with this brilliant pitch, delivered at the site of the first performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy: “For Japan to become a country of joy, we by all means want to win!”
Goodbye utsukushii Nihon, hello kanki no Nihon.