What the men--and women--on Japan's streets had to say
By TAKASHI YOKOTA
TIME intern Takashi Yokota hit the streets on Sunday to interview voters in central Tokyo's Ota Ward, a neighborhood famed for its family-run factories that make parts for Japan's electronics industry. Ota Ward voters faced an interesting slate of candidates--Otohiko Endo, of the New Komeito Party, was backed by the ruling coalition, including the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP); Kensaku Morita, a former teen idol and actor who had been an LDP representative, ran as an independent, defying LDP party elders. Those two faced opposition from the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) Noboru Usami and Jiyu Rengo's Miyuki Mitsuda. In the end Morita won. Here's what a sampling of voters had to say about politics in modern-day Japan
"I voted for the LDP because they've kept the country running with stability up to now."
Kenji Kishikawa, 35, businessman
Takashi Tamiya, 27, finance company employee
"Mori lacks reliability as a Prime Minister. But I voted for the LDP because the country isn't doing that bad, and it's the LDP that made Japan a respected country in the international community. "
Haruko Tanimura, 23, advertising company employee
"I just wanted the ruling party to change, and give somebody else a chance."
Yuya Inaba, 24, businessman
"I've voted for the Social Democratic Party because Takako Doi [SDP head] is a real pro in politics, and I wanted to support professional politicians. The public needs to give more attention to politics."
Junko Kanai , 56, self-employed
"The entire political system is going bad. We need politicians with a clear vision to steer this country in the right direction."
Hironobu Takeda, 40, graphic designer
"I've been supporting the LDP until now, but their way of doing things is getting old."
Manabu Hisada, 41, businessman
"People in my generation are more conservative, so Mori's "divine country" remark doesn't bother me at all. Actually, he was saying the right thing, and there's nothing for him to be criticized over. I voted LDP because Mori made that statement."
Taeko Shimada, 74, retired tailoring/sewing instructor
"There's no particular reason why I voted for the LDP. There is nobody else who is appealing, and I'm really not interested in politics."
Nana Murayama, 30, businesswoman
"The LDP still has good politicians, but I think that voting for DPJ's policies was the best option to bring some change to this country."
Hideyuki Kurata, 26, freelancer
"I know there are decent politicians in the LDP, but I voted against them to make a clear statement that Mori should step down. People in the community don't have a sense of urgency despite all this mess the country is in. Politicians make me upset, but what's worse is the people who don't vote."
Reiko Takehara, 35, cram school teacher
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