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!