Japan In the Diet, It's All in the Family

The prevalence of second-generation politicians raises fears that politics is being restricted to an elite kinship network

Former Foreign Minister Zentaro Kosaka, 78, wasn't running for anything; yet there he stood at an election rally before 2,000 people wearing white headbands marked VICTORY. Thanking them for their longtime support, he said, "I have put all my might into working for this town, but there's still a lot left to do." Then he suggested who might do it: "Please let Kenji work with you to carry that out." The elder Kosaka was campaigning for his son in hopes of continuing a family tradition. Three generations of the Kosaka clan have controlled the mountainous Nagano district, north of Tokyo.

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