Voters Unsure Ahead of Election: This Week in Osaka: October 22nd to 29th 2021

Each week, here at, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka.

Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.

Voters Remain Undecided as Election Looms

Osaka joins the rest of Japan in going to the polls this weekend.

Halloween has an extra twist for Osaka residents this year. As well as attending parties across the city, many will also be going to vote in a national election. Despite most polls pointing to another, predictable win for the incumbent Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), undecided voters could yet complicate matters.

Data released this week suggests that as many as 40% of voters across Japan (35% in Osaka) still haven’t decided how they’ll vote. The loss of a by-election earlier this week, one which the LDP were expected to win comfortably, complicates things further.

Despite this uncertainty, the LDP remains almost certain to emerge as the largest party in parliament. However, they may have to once again rely on coalition partner Komeito, a party backed by the Buddhist Sect Soka Gakkai, to retain an overall majority.

The LDP’s approval ratings suffered a massive slump earlier in the year. Amid soaring pandemic infection numbers and a stuttering start to vaccinations, Prime Minister Suga pressed on with The Tokyo Olympics despite widespread public calls to cancel it. The LDP has a new leader now, in the less abrasive, if somewhat ineffectual Fumio Kishida.

Voters Cite Lack of Meaningful Alternatives

Former Prime Minister Suga damaged not only the popularity of his party, but public trust in politicians in general.

Stats show that the LDPs numbers have improved slightly since Kishida replace Suga as Prime Minister. However, in Osaka, voters remain angry at the LDP’s intransigence. However, they also remain unconvinced that any of the opposition could do any better.

One frustrated Osaka citizen said: “The LDP are worse than useless, but the opposition waste all their time fighting amongst themselves. There is no viable alternative”.

Another Osaka resident was equally dismissive of opposition plans to field “unity” candidates in a number of constituencies. Opposition parties hope this will encourage “tactical voting” to unseat LDP-backed incumbents. Unfortunately, the disparate nature of the opposition doesn’t sit well with Osaka voters, as one of them explained.

“How can we take a candidate seriously when they are running with the support of centrists, communists and right wing parties?

“If by some miracle these differing parties actually gained a majority in the house, the bickering would be endless.”

Mother Arrested, Charged with Killing Baby

Police arrested the suspect earlier this week.

Needless death is always horrifying, but it takes on an even darker dimension when it concerns young children. Sadly, such a case emerged in Osaka this week.

Police, this week, arrested a 33 year old mother in Takaishi, just outside Osaka City. Her crime: allegedly causing the death of her one year old daughter. The mother had been prescribed anti-anxiety medication. However, police believe she gave some of this medication to her baby daughter. As a result, the child died.

The incident took place at a hospital in Izumi City, in May of last year. The child had been hospitalized with breathing problems since the previous February. At present, the details on this case remain scarce. Neither the mother nor her daughter have been named by police. It also remains unclear how exactly the mother was able to give the drug to her daughter and any possible motive for doing so.

In situations such as this, it is often the case that police will not disclose the full details of an incident until psychiatric evaluations take place. Though we can only speculate for the time being, given the circumstances, it seems only natural that the mother’s state of mind be called into question.

And Finally…

Osaka’s Kyocera Dome on a typical matchday.

Congratulations to Osaka’s own Orix Buffaloes. The baseball side, who play most of their home matches at the city’s Kyocera Dome, clinched the Pacific League title this week. It was a well-earned, though largely unexpected accolade for the Buffaloes. Last season, the team finished bottom of the league. However, they look like a team reborn this year, with a mix of break-out rookie stars and rejuvenated veterans powering them to glory.

The Buffaloes finally took the title in rather unconventional circumstances. With their own regular season already complete, the team needed other results to go their way. So, it transpired that the team gathered at Kyocera Dome on Wednesday to watch, and hope.

In the end, a 2-1 defeat for Chiba Lotte Marines at the hands of 3rd placed Rakuten Eagles, gave the Buffaloes what they needed. The players ran onto the field and celebrated in an outpouring of both relief and joy.

That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of this week in Osaka!


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