Language | MORNING ENGLISH

Elections and the work (and words) that goes into them

This week’s featured article

TOMOHIRO OSAKI, THE JAPAN TIMES

Among the effects of Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe’s resignation is the triggering of another costly gubernatorial election. If past examples are any indication, the race to choose a successor will cost Tokyo taxpayers a whopping ¥5 billion.

When Naoki Inose, Masuzoe’s immediate predecessor, quit in December 2013 over a scandal involving ¥50 million received as loans from the Tokushukai hospital chain, Tokyo was forced to squeeze out ¥4.9 billion in emergency funds for an election. Of that, about ¥4.6 billion was actually spent, an official from Tokyo’s election management committee said.

Masuzoe’s resignation is certain to result in similar costs, the official added.

“I’m sure Tokyo residents are angry that it’s a total waste of their taxes. I mean, the cost involved is stupendous,” said the official, who declined to be named.

The individual said residents have already made their feelings known. As the scandal played out, the election management office began fielding a deluge of calls from people lambasting Masuzoe’s spending and inquiring how much of their tax money will be “wasted” on a new poll.

Most of the funds are used to pay municipalities to hire staff for polling stations and install machines to count ballots.

The gubernatorial race that put Masuzoe in power saw about ¥4.1 billion being spent for these purposes, the official said.

The remaining costs include the printing of flyers, running ads in newspapers and buying fuel for campaign trucks.

An election gets costlier if a governor, whose official tenure is four years, quits prematurely — something that has happened with each of the last three people to hold the position.

Masuzoe submitted his resignation after a little over two years in office. Inose survived for only a year. Bombastic politician Shintaro Ishihara, Inose’s predecessor, quit prematurely in his fourth term, too, to form a new national political party in the fall of 2012.

The Tokyo official said one budgetary need in the short-term will be paying extra fees for printing companies to produce flyers and promotional signs.

First published in The Japan Times on June 16.

Warm up

One-minute chat about Tokyo.

Game

Collect words related to elections, e.g., campaign, rival, victory.

New words

1) gubernatorial: of or relating to a governor; e.g., “I believe he is most likely to win the coming gubernatorial election.”

2) stupendous: huge, amazingly large/great, marvelous; e.g., “You did a stupendous job.”

1) lambaste: criticize someone or something harshly; e.g., “He was lambasted on the internet for his views.”

2) tenure: the period/term of holding something; e.g., “Thank you very much for your support during my tenure.”

Guess the headline

Masuzoe’s departure will cost T_ _ _ _ residents ¥5 billion for new e_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Questions

1) How much will it cost to hold the election for Tokyo Governor?

2) What will the election budget be used for?

3) Would it cost more if the governor finished his term?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you think about Mr. Masuzoe’s resignation?

2) What skill do you think the Tokyo governor needs?

3) What would you do if you were the governor of your prefecture?

Reference

東京都知事が再び金銭的なスキャンダルにより任期の途中で辞任することになりました。猪瀬氏から舛添氏に交代した選挙からわずか二年ばかりで、東京は再びそのトップを選ぶ選挙を行うこととなります。そこに都民の税金が使われることを考えると、選ぶ一人一人が次こそは慎重に選ぼうとする声が聞こえてくるのも必然と言えるでしょう。

混乱の後、これからの東京を引っ張っていく代表にはどのような資質を求めていけばよいのでしょうか。

朝の会に参加し、皆さんでこのトピックについて話し合ってみましょう。

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