Yoshimi Watanabe of the Your Party celebrates victory

Dane:  So what the hell was this election all about?

Yuji: It was for the the House of Councillors, the upper house.

Dane: Like the U.S. Senate?

Yuji:  No, more like the British House of Lords.

Dane:  You mean the members are aristocrats?

Yuji:  They use to be, but they all got kicked out when MacArthur helped us rewrite our constitution in 1946.

Dane:  So, how are they like the House of Lords?

Yuji:  They’re pretty much useless and they have about as much political power as the junior chamber of commerce.

Dane: Who would want to run for a position like that?

Yuji: Most of them are minor celebrities or washed up politicians. One candidate in our district is a professional bicycle racer!

Dane:  How many of these pretend politicians are there?

Yuji: 246, and they include 13 political parties in all.

Dane:  That’s unlucky.

Yuji:  Yeah, especially when some of them are called things like Your Party, the Sunrise Party, the Renaissance Party, and – get this – the Happiness Realization Party!

Dane:  With labels like that, who would ever vote for them?

Yuji:  Lots of folks.  Those manga parties have a total of 17 seats.

Dane: Well, if the upper house is a joke, why the big fuss about the election results?

Yuji: The one thing they can do is veto laws passed in the lower house – the one that actually runs the government.

Dane:  And I heard the ruling Democratic Party took some hits in this election.

Yuji: They lost 16 seats and their arch-rivals, the Liberal Democrats gained 13.

Dane: Does that mean they lost their majority?

Yuji:  Yeah, and with that these jokers can throw the government into total gridlock where no laws can be passed.

Dane:  But I thought the Democrats just swept the country with their campaign for change after 60 years of being screwed by the Liberal Democrats.

Yuji:  Japanese voters are real fickle.  It’s been less than ten months since the Democrats took over the government and the public says they haven’t seen enough change – so they’re ready to swing back to the conservatives who call themselves the Liberal Democrats.

Dane:  Ten months! Obama’s been in office for sixteen months and we’re still waiting for some real change.

Yuji:  Just wait till November.  Your voters will probably do the same thing and welcome the republican clowns back.

Dane: God forbid!

Yuji:  Sorry to tell you this, but God can’t vote!

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