In the Japanese Diet (or at least in its upper chamber) you can perform a kind of filibuster known as a 牛歩 (gyūho), or "ox walk", by walking SUPER SLOWLY (like an ox) to cast your vote.

I'm not 100% on Diet rules. However, I'm pretty sure that you can do it so long as you don't stop or walk in a way that shows you're obviously not trying to reach the booth; though again, no expert.

Anyway, is this kind of filibuster unique to Japan? Or is possible in other parliaments as well? And if it is unique to Japan, what parliamentary procedural differences does the Japanese Diet have that others don't?

1 Answer 1


Quoth Wikipedia on obstructionism:

Another form of parliamentary obstruction practiced in the United States and other countries is called "slow walking". It specifically refers to the extremely slow speed with which legislators walk to the podium to cast their ballots. For example, in Japan this tactic is known as a "cow walk", and in Hawaii it's known as a "Devil's Gambit". Consequently, slow walking is also used as a synonym for obstructionism itself.

The Wikipedia page gives a reference for that last line, but it doesn't actually work (the site exists, but it doesn't redirect to the alleged evidence). It appears this is the intended reference.

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    Here's an alternate source for the same speech by Senator Reid ... Congressional Record, June 5th 2002, Senate p. 4992. However, he seems to be talking about the process of walking a bill slowly through the applicable procedure, not literal slow walking by senators as they move around the chamber.
    – david
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 13:24
  • @david The line does say it's "used as a synonym for obstructionism itself". Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 0:27

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