Japan: The Powers That Be

In all things political, consensus rules

Even by the standards of a country where political campaigns are not so much seen as heard, electioneering reaches a raucous pitch.

From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., loudspeakers mounted atop cars and trucks blare out the names of candidates. Men armed with bullhorns bellow party names on street corners, while the shouts of supporters assault the ears of those passing by. Japanese politicians have little choice but to woo votes with decibels: not only are television and newspaper ads forbiddingly expensive, but candidates are prohibited from making their...

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