Votes are votes, right?

This Sunday, Japan will hold elections for over 100 seats in the House of Councillors, the upper house of its national Diet. With just days to go, prominent politicians are out stumping for their parties, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Tuesday, Abe made four campaign stops in Niigata Prefecture, hoping to drum up support for his Liberal Democratic Party. Following a common tactic among politicians, Abe implored not only those in attendance to go to the polls and support his party on election day, but to encourage everyone they have a personal connection to do the same, and apparently any connection will do.

In his speeches, Abe has habitually said “I want you to cast your votes, and I want your friends, relatives, lovers, and even your old lovers, if you can find them, to do the same.” However, while giving a speech in Niigata’s Kashiwazaki City, Abe changed things up, saying:

“Fathers, I ask you to invite your lover to go to the polls and cast your votes for us.”

The specific Japanese word Abe used, koibito translates literally as “lover,” but typically isn’t used to describe one’s spouse, and the combination of father and lover, as opposed to father and spouse or father and wife, creates the implication that Abe is asking married men to encourage the woman they’re having an affair with to vote for the Liberal Democratic Party, without passing judgement on the assumed infidelity, which the prime minister’s choice of words implies that he’s taking as a matter of course.

▼ “Hey, baby, my wife is out of town. What do you say we get…political?

It’s possible that Ando’s unusual request was merely a slip of the tongue as he tried to vary his usual catchphrase, but on the same day, while giving a speech in Niigata’s Joetsu City, he once again asked fathers to invite their lovers to the polls. This time, though, he followed up with “Mothers, find you old lovers [and invite them to vote],” but that just seems to compound the nuance that he’s assuming that men have current lovers on the side, even as their wives have put an end to their romantic relationships with their old flames.

We’ll have to wait and see if Abe’s appeal for political loyalty from men who aren’t loyal to their wives, as well as the ladies they’re fooling around with, will result in victories for his party or not, but in the meantime, his semantics are unlikely to change the negative opinion some Yu-Gi-Oh! characters have expressed towards him.

Sources: Jiji via Hachima Kiko, Asahi Shimbun Digital
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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