Monday, 3 February 2014

Tokyo Gubernatorial (Googlenatorial?) Elections 2014

The wife, now more politically inclined after 3-11, has informed me that on 9 February 2014 Tokyo will hold elections for a new governor to replace Naoki Inose who resigned 24 December 2013 following a public funds scandal.

Wikipedia Article

Big deal, you say. Why is this important?

Tokyo is not just another city. If it was a country, it would match Australia

Tokyo Australia
Population 32,542,946
(2000 Census)
(ABS Population clock at time of posting)
GDP ¥165.01 trillion
(2008 PriceWaterhouseCoopers study)
¥151.4 trillion
(2012 average estimate - Wolfram Alpha)

The world is paying attention to these elections because of their potential impact to the regional and world economy. Furthermore the new governor, who also has a mayoral role, will directly influence the 2020 Olympics. He (there are unfortunately no female candidates) will also confront several issues faced by the developed world of which Japan is at the vanguard, namely: economic stagnation, energy policy, and an aging population.

With Tokyo providing close to a third of national GDP the major national parties have an interest in several candidates. But there is still room in the race for independents. Notable candidates:
  • Yoichi Masuzoe - Former National Cabinet Minister, supported by LDP and New Komeito
  • Morihiro Hosokawa - Former PM of Japan, supported by the DPJ
  • Kenji Utsunomiya - Lawyer, supported by the Communist Party, Social Democrats, and Greens
  • Toshio Tamogami - Independent, former Air Force officer who has the dubious honour of winning an essay contest on downplaying Japan's involvement in the Second World War.
  • Yoshiro "Dr Nakamats" Nakamatsu - Independent, prolific inventor who claims to have invented the floppy disk. His celebrity status in Japan mysteriously endures along with use of floppy disks.
So who's leading?

We don't know. Even with so much at stake there is next to no news out there. No polls, no projections, no number crunching, nothing. The only way we found out about the candidates was by way of quaint letterbox drop. The wife is no longer happy to take it as a given that the LDP man will win.

We have turned to Google trends to gauge who is largest in the web consciousness.

Let's see whether web searches correspond with votes. Japan is not used to calling multi-horse races, and some data - even wildly extrapolated - is better than silence. Well, the wife thinks so and that's good enough for me.


  1. Update: twitter stats:
    @toshio_tamogami - 2320 tweets, 203K followers.
    @masuzoeyoichi - 1573 tweets, 147K followers.
    Kenji Utsunomiya and Morihiro Hosokawa do not tweet.

  2. Masuzoe. Faith in mediocrity restored.