It’s election season here in Japan, and this morning the full listing of competing parties fell through my mailbox. This multi-page, newspaper-style document lists the major parties and their main candidates, along with a very brief statement of their agenda. It’s a useful summary of the state of policy debate in Japan, I suppose, though it can make depressing reading if, like me, you think that the future of Japan depends, at least medium term, on nuclear power – aside from a few fruit loops who want nuclear weapons, almost every party is committed to Nuclear Zero. Even the Communist Party, though at least they have the decency to propose an alternative energy policy. I scanned this set of policy agendas to see if any party had any policies on immigration or foreigners, but I didn’t get very far because I got distracted by a glossy brochure from the Happiness Realization Party, which I think should rename itself the Giant Robot Party (ジャイアントロボット党). This glossy brochure is as disturbing as it is cute: the front page demands that a rock star who made landing on the Senkaku Islands be made governor of Tokyo, presumably not as a token of goodwill in international relations. The back page also makes the nationalistic path to happiness clear, with its number one demand being action to protect Japan from China.
But the middle of the pamphlet is the two-page spread reproduced above, showing the Happiness Realization Party’s vision of a future Tokyo. For those who aren’t familiar with Japanese, some of the more notable features include:
- Making Haneda Airport operate 24 hours a day (far left of the image)
- Heliports! (on reclaimed land: next to the lobster- and crab-tower)
- Fish farms in buildings (below the heliplane-y thing with the crate: the actual phrase means “become able to catch fish inside buildings!”)
- Maglev trains! (These are the big loops running around the outside of the city)
- All motorways underground
- Underground safety shelters (I guess this is necessary if you’re going to go for nuclear armaments)
- Giant robots!!!
The party is also, apparently, in favour of lower taxes. So how they’re going to get to this future Tokyo isn’t entirely clear. I think the way they envisaged it is obvious though: the Tokyo in that picture is basically the city depicted in the Appleseed comics, though the robot’s a little bit bigger than anything in Appleseed. I’d like to point out, though, that the future world of those comics is not exactly a smoothly functioning democracy …
The Happiness Realization Party is also, apparently, pro-foreigner and denies the Nanking massacre, in a classic example of the weirdness of Japanese conservative politics: this party is a low-taxing, pro-foreigner, nationalist and militarist religious party. Based on this weird-looking cult, apparently, which means the health policy will be fascinating: on their website this religious group claim you can heal yourself of cancer. It’s space exploration policy should be interesting too: apparently the religious group’s leader discovered a speed faster than light 30 years ago.
As a foreigner living in Japan I don’t feel it my right to offer advice to Japanese people about how to vote, but on this occasion I think we can all agree that it is my duty to demand all good citizens vote for the Happiness Realization Party: the sooner we can move to a Bladerunner-esque, nuclear-armed Japanese state guarded by giant robots, the sooner we will all achieve full happiness.