Weekly Column Kanda This and That 316
Thank you for coming back.
The election is over now. The past week was very loud and noisy. Whenever I saw a campaign car, I almost wanted to say “You were just shaking hands of someone who doesn’t even live in Chiyoda-ku… Oh, the one you were just waving your hand to is actually a Koto-ku resident.” Well, I didn’t say anything actually, but I don’t think it is something happening only in Chiyoda-ku, which has the smallest population and population density among the Tokyo’s 23 cities.
On the night of the election Sunday, my husband, who was watching the election news flash on the Internet, said “the candidate got 500 votes so far, so he is about to win, I guess.” I replied, “I see… wait a minute, only 500 votes?” I have been living in this area for 10 years, and I had just learned the threshold for winning a seat in the city assembly election. The highest number of votes earned by the elected candidates was 1,770, the lowest one was 523 (the one who got 518 didn’t get elected). For Chiyoda city, 523 votes make you a city assembly member – interesting. As for other cities, Toshima-ku (with the highest population density among 23 cities) requires 1,536 votes to win a seat and Setagaya-ku (with the highest population among 23 cities) requires 3,667 votes!! What a difference. I was surprised by the gap. In Chiyoda-ku, there is one assembly member per 2,320 city residents, which means, I believe, that our voices should be easier to be heard by the central government! (for Setagaya-ku, it is one assembly member per 17,600 residents.) Now I appreciate that I live in this wonderful Chiyoda-ku! Well, our assembly members must work hard for us, I guess.
*The information herein is as of April 2019.