Upper House election night, 2010. All over the country people are watching television and waiting to see if there will be an upset as the results from polling stations slowly trickle in.

Suddenly there's a cut to newsreader Shunji Miyagawa in what appears to be a special live broadcast: "In news just to hand," Miyagawa says, "we can confirm that first-time, independent candidate, Jiro Shirato, has secured a seat."

Photos of Shirato and his rival running for a seat in the House of Councilors flash on the screen.