Despite the best efforts of certain individuals on Twitter, lawmaker Renho became the head of the Democratic Party last Thursday. Of course, those loosely linked online individuals that are sometimes referred to as netto uyo (internet right-wingers) don't really care about the DP, but they were undoubtedly thrilled that the issue they raised with regard to Renho's nationality became the most important one in the campaign — at least as far as the media was concerned.

For that they can thank the Sankei Shimbun and its affiliates, particularly tabloid Yukan Fuji, which lead the anti-Renho chorus on a daily basis. The choir master was former bureaucrat Kazuro Yawata, who posted an essay on the blog platform Agora, later reprinted in Fuji, claiming that Renho — whose father is Taiwanese and whose mother is Japanese — never renounced her Taiwanese nationality and thus holds dual citizenship. A Sankei reporter who attended the DP presidential candidate press conference asked Renho about this discrepancy and all hell broke loose.

Trying to prevent the clamor from intensifying, Renho hot-footed it to Taiwan's representative office in Tokyo to confirm the renunciation of her Taiwanese nationality. She was under the impression her father had already done that when she obtained Japanese citizenship in 1985, when she was 17. On Tuesday she found out she still "retained" Taiwanese nationality. She is now in the process of renouncing it, but in any case her enemies were able to claim that Yawata's "suspicions" had been verified.