To the frustration — and rising panic — of nuclear village chieftain and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tokyo's gubernatorial election next month is shaping up to be a contest not about "local" issues like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics or even perennial complaints such as the lack of economic reform. Barring some last-minute change or surprise, it's now a contest about the future of nuclear power in Tokyo and Japan.

But in Osaka, the real question is what effect the entry of an old far-right-wing nationalist known for his inflammatory comments — who has the support of an old, far-right-wing nationalist also known for making inflammatory comments — will have on the political fortunes of Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).

In one corner of the campaign, we have former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe, considered a moderate but, in reality, a conservative who, prior to March 11, 2011, argued for nuclear power. Since then (surprise, surprise) he has kept rather quiet.