I was invited to a breakfast with Keiko Higuchi by Merle Okawara. Ms. Higuchi is an outspoken anti-war feminist who was one of the first people to try to deal with the aging population issue in ernest. She is running for the office of the Governor of Tokyo as an independent against Shintaro Ishihara, the current Governor of Tokyo. She is characterized as a anti-war liberal and Ishihara is a well known nationalist.
Ishihara is a well known writer who is able to capture the hearts of many Japanese with his catchy slogans and easy to understand policies that address many of the issues facing the average Japanese today.
Ms. Higuchi will have a tough fight being characterized as a soft philosophical peace-loving woman. Ishihara is talking about ramping up the police force to stomp out crime (especially those committed by foreign immigrants) and is supportive of increasing the military power of Japan. The war on Iraq will probably have a great deal of impact on this election.
Governor Domoto of Chiba also ran and didn't expect to win, but she did. Having assumed she was going to lose, she didn't promise many favors and thus she is relatively free and independent, having won. It would be great if Ms. Higuchi could win and displace Ishihara. She'll need some strong and smart advisors to help her execute, but having a woman Governor with a left-leaning disposition would probably be a good thing in light of the current atmosphere.
Ms. Higuchi outlined her philosophy this morning and I was happy to hear that she felt that democracy was broken and that the voice of the people as well as the ability for communities to organize and be heard in government was lacking and she intended to increase the diversity of opinions heard by lawmakers.
I talked about blogs and emergent democracy. (Of course)