The Numbers Game

On numerous news sites (here’s an example,) references are made to petitions drives conducted by certain PTA groups in support of the revision. Before the bill was voted down, they were able to gather 45,000 signatures. The implication is that since there is considerable support for the revision among certain circles in the public, and thus chances are high that the issue will come up once again in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. The news media has failed to mention was that the leadership of the PTA groups voicing support for the bill includes people who were involved in drafting the bill in the first place, so it is rather natural that they would get involved in gathering signatures once they realized that their brainchild was being severely threatened. Tamae Arai and Akio Kondō were members of the 28th Tokyo Youth Affairs Conference.

During a public symposium regarding the revision bill on May 17th, PTA members who were in opposition of the bill mentioned how forms were being handed out at PTA meetings and members were urged to sign. There were questions over whether or not people were being informed adequately prior to signing the petition. Another point was that many people in leadership already made the decision to support the revision without consulting their members.

There happened to be another signature drive going on, and this one was in opposition to the Nonexistent Youth Bill.

Attorney at Law, Takashi Yamaguchi played an important part in organizing objections against the recent bill and in the closing days over the debate of the bill in late May and early June, a petition of opposition to the revision was started by Yamaguchi. The collection of signatures ended with the defeat of the revision bill, but over 20,000 signatures made it in the roughly three week period the drive was being conducted.

Not bad for a petition drive that does not rely on formal structures and established authorities.

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