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Hiroshi Hase loses his political seat in Sunday elections

By Zach Arnold | August 30, 2009

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The Liberal Democratic Party, the ruling political powerhouse party in Japan for many many years, got crushed today in Sunday elections in Japan. Taro Aso, the extremely unpopular Prime Minister of Japan, will be replaced by Yukio Hatoyama. The projected election win totals show the DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) with 318 ~ 320 seats, the LDP coalition with 136, and 17 seats to other parties (like the Communist Party).

One of the political seats that was targeted in the election was Hiroshi Hase’s House of Representatives seat in District 1 of Ishikawa Prefecture. Hase, the former Japanese pro-wrestling superstar, lost by a reported 8,500 votes to challenger Ken Okuda (49% to 46% or 125,500 to 117,000 votes). Okuda has been Hase’s long-time political rival.

One of the unique parts of watching this Japanese election is that a red flower is placed next to the winner’s name in election results.

Addendum from Dave Ditch

Hiroshi Hase, as a former pro-wrestler in Japan’s legislature, has been at the center of the fallout of the death of Mitsuharu Misawa. Hase, along with management of the major ‘traditional’ promotions, has been trying to work out uniform regulations to prevent premature deaths in the business. Given that Hase has already lost his seat once, and that his party (the LDP) faced historic levels of opposition, there was a great deal of uncertainty as to whether or not Hase would remain in office to continue his work. Since I try to stay on top of the Japanese wrestling scene, when the election was over I tried to find out if he won his race. The only English-language website I found covering Hase’s election was Fight Opinion, which linked to a Japanese news site showing that Hase had lost the race in his district.
A few days later, someone posted a paragraph from this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It said that Hase had been elected in Ishikawa prefecture.

Hiroshi Hase was elected to the Japanese Diet (House of Representatives) once again in the 8/30 election. He has been serving in either the Japanese Senate or House since 1995 but it was thought that this was going to be a tough election for him to win, because the Jiminto Party (Liberal-Democrat Party) was in trouble and expected to, and did lose, a ton of seats in the election. For reasons I’m not clear, it was reported on several English language web sites that Hase lost, but it was confusion because Ken Okuda, who had lost elections to Hase in the past, reported as beating Hase, won a seat in the Ishikawa prefecture, in the senate. Hase was in a different race and won. Hase was elected in his home Ishikawa prefecture (state) to the House of Councilors, the lower lawmaking house.

That prompted me to do more research, eventually leading to another Japanese website (Yomiuri) showing Hase as having lost his race in Ishikawa. When I mentioned this in a reply to the person who posted the WON blurb, someone else showed me another page at Yomiuri which had Hase as getting a seat, but not through his district race. I did some more research and learned that some seats in Japan are determined based on the percentage of the national vote a party gets. Hase was close enough to the top of the LDP party list that he got in through an electoral backdoor. The story on Fight Opinion was a flash result of Hase’s race and was accurate on that topic, but like Meltzer failed to pick up on the party list aspect.

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