Japan: Of Hydrangeas and Ballots

Nakasone wins a vote of confidence, sort of

His name appeared nowhere on the ballots, but Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone acted as if it did. He carefully screened the candidates who would represent his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), then took to the hustings to campaign on their behalf. Occasionally, the voters seemed to think that Nakasone was running too. In Maebashi, 60 miles northwest of Tokyo in the heart of his own Gumma prefecture, Nakasone was greeted by posters bearing his picture and hundreds of cheering supporters. At one point he recited a haiku praising the local shrubs, and...

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