In an Asahi Shimbun editorial published March 30, a week before nationwide elections were held for prefectural and municipal assemblies on April 7, the newspaper fretted about the state of local politics.

Usually in such cases, it's voter apathy the media laments, but in this case the problem was a lack of candidates.

The Asahi said that some seats in 40 percent of the electoral districts for prefectural assemblies nationwide had already been decided because there was no one contesting them. For instance, if there were 15 seats up for grabs in a district and only 15 people were running, then there would be no reason to have an election.