The race in Yamaguchi Prefecture between Tetsunari Iida, the founder of a renewable energy research institute and a leading figure in Japan's emerging antinuclear movement, and Shigetaro Yamamoto, a conservative former government official, had been seen as a test of how much the grass-roots protest movement had influenced public opinion.
This is the part that could use a little more elaboration.
Although Mr. Iida lost, the results were encouraging for the antinuclear camp, with a strong showing in a region considered to be a conservative stronghold. With 99 percent of the votes counted, Mr. Yamamoto had received 252,420 votes, or 47.6 percent, to Mr. Iida's 185,567 votes, or 35 percent, according to the public broadcaster NHK.
I assume conservative candidates usually win in Yamaguchi with a higher proportion of the vote, but however you slice it, 35 percent is a dreadful number. To put a different spin on this – and this is about politics, so the name of the game is spin – Iida may have run as a single subject, anti-nuclear energy candidate. Single issue candidates rarely win because constituent interests run to more than one issue in almost any given election.
But, really, what does it matter? If the anti-nuclear crowd wanted this to be a referendum, so be it. They lost. They don’t get to turn a miserable drubbing into some kind of symbolic victory. They get to eat dust for dinner. That’s what happens when you lose. That’s politics.
Tetsunari Iida. We’re being a little harsh here, but really, Mr. Iida may be a perfectly viable candidate in a different context. More issues and close attention to prospective constituents and their needs may do the trick for him, even in a district not in total sync with his views.