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Japan's general election: end of one-party rule

by tuasfait Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 03:35:55 AM EST

As you may have read in the NYT, we are headed for a general election of the lower house on Sunday. If polls are to be believed, the 50-year old one-party rule by conservative Liberal Democrats (LDP) is likely to end tomorrow. Instead the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will gain a super majority. Here are a few projections by Japanese mass media of likely distribution of 480 seats:

Asahi Daily (liberal): DPJ 320: LDP 100
Yomiuri (about as informative as Pravda was): DPJ >300: LDP 100?
Sankei (conservative propaganda): DPJ >300: LDP 130

This is more than a change. This will be abrogation of whatever LDP stood for. So, I am lucky enough to see the day when Japan finally withdraws from one-party rule coalition in this part of the world of PRC, North Korea, Japan and Singapore. What are we smoking?

from the diaries - Nomad


It is only 4 years ago that LDP, guided by Koizumi, enjoyed a sweeping victory by gaining 300 seats. The party platform then called for a "reform" by introducing "market-oriented" policy (when the economy is good). As a result, employment practice has become far more flexible for employers, the capital gain tax was lowered, and the postal service was privatized. Indeed, as from 2003, the Japanese economy was growing, and the government and mass media kept feeding the public with the "reform-is-working" mantra. Most also felt a bit of pride when Koizumi joined the coalition of the willing in Iraq.

Disillusionment came quickly. First, the national healthcare of the elderly. In an attempt to reduce the medical cost, the government carved out the population over 75 years and covered them in an independent public health plan in 2006. Needless to say, this plan makes only bureaucratic sense; to show savings in other national health plans and claim the officials are doing a decent job. The elderly felt, not without justification, they will be forced to pay more for the healthcare and felt betrayed. Then came the news that payment records of the national pension premiums are missing for tens of millions of people. In the meantime, the reform contributed to a substantial income disparity. The public was so shocked that the LDP lost a majority in the upper house election of 2007.

The final blow came with the economic crisis since last fall. Japanese saw that the promise of reform was empty as the economy began, again, to crumble. In fact, the temporary boom had been export-driven, thanks to America's and China's huge bubble. It is no wonder that when the bubble finally burst, the Japanese economy suffers.

Interestingly, the mainstream American foreign policy experts appear deeply suspicious of this upcoming victory of democracy (even though our election is generally clean compared to Afghanistan, and we can count the votes accurately), as DPJ's head Hatoyama attempts to draw a line with globalism in his NYT opinion. Well, experts, don't worry. Hatoyama opposed the Iraq war. He is, I believe, far better than George Bush.

[Update: 8:10 pm JST]
The national broadcasting is already calling the election for DPJ in a landslide. Exit polls:
DPJ 298-329: LDP 84-131 Wow

Display:
FWIW

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 12:06:57 AM EST
Thanks for this!

Could you say something on the DPJ's election programme? Also, your personal impression of Hatoyama (he is the likely next PM isn't he?) and any other important DPJ figures? (Here, like I guess marco, I am thinking of potential internal rivalries that could undo the DPJ like the non-LDP governments of the nineties.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 04:19:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, I like Hatoyama's linked op-ed, really an open attack on "globalism", "the idea ... all countries should modify the traditions and regulations governing their economies in line with global (or rather American) standards"; and US supremacy in general (I already hear the "anti-American!!!" counter-attacks), with rather explicit words on the change of the East Asian political balance.

While he writes about Japan, he cleverly embeds it in a (European) Enlightement narrative. He nails it in right in the third paragraph:

In these times, we must return to the idea of fraternity -- as in the French slogan "liberté, égalité, fraternité" -- as a force for moderating the danger inherent within freedom.

As to be expected (well at least I expected it), there is a hint at improving regional relations; though with the obligatory reinforcement of the special imperial relation:

Another national goal that emerges from the concept of fraternity is the creation of an East Asian community. Of course, the Japan-U.S. security pact will continue to be the cornerstone of Japanese diplomatic policy.

But at the same time, we must not forget our identity as a nation located in Asia. I believe that the East Asian region, which is showing increasing vitality, must be recognized as Japan's basic sphere of being. So we must continue to build frameworks for stable economic cooperation and security across the region.

The following part of the attack may be relevant for the Euro:

The financial crisis has suggested to many that the era of U.S. unilateralism may come to an end. It has also raised doubts about the permanence of the dollar as the key global currency.

The EU is clearly on his mind but suitable as role model only partially:

Today, as the supranational political and economic philosophies of Marxism and globalism have, for better or for worse, stagnated, nationalism is once again starting to have a major influence in various countries.

As we seek to build new structures for international cooperation, we must overcome excessive nationalism and go down a path toward rule-based economic cooperation and security.

Unlike Europe, the countries of this region differ in size, development stage and political system, so economic integration cannot be achieved over the short term. However, we should nonetheless aspire to move toward regional currency integration as a natural extension of the rapid economic growth...

Therefore, I would suggest, somewhat paradoxically, that the issues that stand in the way of regional integration can only be truly resolved by moving toward greater integration. The experience of the E.U. shows us how regional integration can defuse territorial disputes.

...and he ends with Europe again:

Let me conclude by quoting the words of Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, founder of the first popular movement for a united Europe, written 85 years ago in "Pan-Europa" (my grandfather, Ichiro Hatoyama, translated his book, "The Totalitarian State Against Man," into Japanese): "All great historical ideas started as a utopian dream and ended with reality. Whether a particular idea remains as a utopian dream or becomes a reality depends on the number of people who believe in the ideal and their ability to act upon it."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 04:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thasnks for the comment. I intentionally left out many issues which are very confusing. DPJ's election manifesto is a collection of goodies ranging from a child care support (300 dollars per month), direct income support to farmers, free highways to affordable housing. In essence, their promise is to create a welfare state of the Swedish type, without higher taxes.

As for foreign policy, I honestly do not know where they are.  Probably they will scale back involvement in the continuing war on terror. With Hatoyama's pledge not to visit the imperialist shrine, there will not be major problems with China (which is about to take our position of No.2 economic power) or with ROK.  Hopefully, it could give DPJ enough room to maneuver vis a vis Kim Jong Il.

If they win as expected, the next premier will be Hatoyama. He is from a well known family of academic and political achievements. A key figure in the post-election politics will be Ichiro Ozawa of DPJ. He resigned from the post of DPJ chief this year over criminal investigation of his political finance, but is highly respected by the party members.

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 07:03:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tuasfait: In essence, their promise is to create a welfare state of the Swedish type, without higher taxes.

Then how do they plan to pay for it?

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.

by marco on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 07:22:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I know, I know. We don't really believe that. Still, voters are willing to support the platform because they feel expense items are appealing.  

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 10:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So Ozawa is still a key player after his resignation? Interesting. (And perhaps troubling?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 09:36:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 10:05:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazingly, the DPJ may not have enough candidates to fill all the seats they are projected to win:

DPJ facing potential shortage of candidates in proportional section > Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

The Democratic Party of Japan, heavily favored in a series of pre-election polls, is facing the prospect of having to give up some of the seats it is expected to win in Sunday's lower house election. This may happen if the party scores a big enough win to secure seats for more than the number of candidates it has fielded under the proportional representation system, in which seats are allocated according to the share of votes a political party has garnered.

``It would be a waste but there's nothing we can do about it,'' an official of the main opposition party said Friday. The voter preference shown in opinion polls is beyond the expectations of the party, which has put a record 59 people on the proportional representation voting list for House of Representatives seats. The odds are increasing that all of them could secure seats along with those with ``double candidacies'' listed in both single-seat constituencies and proportional representation blocks.

My concern is that, like the anti-LDP coalition led by Hosokawa and Ozawa in the early 1990's, this defeat of the LDP will only be temporary and eventually will recede to give way again to the status quo ante.

Do you see any indications that this time the change will be more permanent?  Will the DPJ's victory be imposing enough to overcome huge obstacles and inertia in the Japanese government apparatus to make changes sought for by the Japanese public?  Or have the LDP's blunders been so great that mere consistent competence be enough to secure the long-term political viability of the DPJ?

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.

by marco on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 01:07:51 AM EST
A victory of this scale would stablize politics for a while, and Hatoyama will be premier for the next 4 years, I suspect. As for LDP, they will face an identity crisis once they lose the perception of "the Party", and may become increasingly ultra-nationalistic.

I would submit that this change should have happened in 2001 when LDP was no longer considered a party of valuable policy and experience. Koizumi prolonged its life a bit longer than necessary.

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 07:21:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tuasfait: and may become increasingly ultra-nationalistic.

All the more reason to pray for the success of the DPJ's policies.

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.

by marco on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 07:24:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DPJ facing potential shortage of candidates in proportional section > Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion
Out of the 480 lower house seats, 300 are elected from single-seat districts and the remaining 180 by proportional representation in 11 regional blocks. Under the electoral system, each voter casts two ballots--one to choose a single-seat candidate and the other to choose a political party or group from the proportional representation block.

So - if I am reading this right - 300 first-past-the-post seats and 180 in a seperate proportional election (as opposed to the combined system they use in Germany).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 08:11:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on Wikipedia, it does seem so. (Hungary has a somewhat similar system.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 09:28:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the scattered bits of news and whatnot that I get, I have had the impression that, for the past few years, the LDP has been in serious dissaray internally, and has been flailing about, lacking a real idea as to where to go or what to do.  Their "reform" agenda has been largely rejected as people became aware of what it meant (many, MANY Japanese people I've talked to have been rather displeased with how Japan is no longer as egalitarian as it used to be, and they KNOW this has been deliberate policy), and they haven't come up with anything else - except, tentatively, nationalism.  But even that isn't very popular.

So, nail in the LDP's coffin?  Who knows.

More locally, the competition is between Jabba the Hut (so he looks on his campaign posters), son of the man who built the Aqua Line and thereby cursed the city I live in, Kisarazu, and between Young Fist Pump Man. Unfortunately, that's all I can say about them.

by Zwackus on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 11:03:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My concern is that, like the anti-LDP coalition led by Hosokawa and Ozawa in the early 1990's, this defeat of the LDP will only be temporary and eventually will recede to give way again to the status quo ante.

Wasn't that what everybody expected in Canada when Harper won in 2006?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 11:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly, the mainstream American foreign policy experts appear deeply suspicious of this upcoming victory of democracy (even though our election is generally clean compared to Afghanistan, and we can count the votes accurately)

Where have I seen this before...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 04:29:37 AM EST
"the idea ... all countries should modify the traditions and regulations governing their economies in line with global (or rather American) standards"; and US supremacy in general (I already hear the "anti-American!!!" counter-attacks)

But hasn't Japan been one of the major participants and beneficiaries of the post-war global trade boom? Is he saying that Japan should retreat into a protectionist cocoon? The argument that global trade is a uniquely U.S.-led program seems a bit weak to me, given the considerable and apparently enthusiastic involvement by Europe and the Far East--with Japan being one of the top two or three countries involved...

by asdf on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 01:14:18 PM EST
But hasn't Japan been one of the major participants and beneficiaries of the post-war global trade boom?

I don't think he's objecting to the first three decades of the post-war epoch...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 01:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is he saying that Japan should retreat into a protectionist cocoon?

This is hardly the only alternative to following US inspired Neo-Classical Economic policies.  Sounds to me as though he wants to work towards a more egalitarian society and one that is, to the extent possible, respectful of tradition.  Not every society has to be thrown whole into the wood chipper of unrestrained market capitalism in the benefit of Wall Street and London elites, only to emerge as isolated, alienated manipulable "rational actor" wood chips.

The USA could use such a leader as Hatoyama, if you have any to spare.  I applaud him and his apparent victory and wish him, his party and country well.  Good news from one country, at least.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 06:18:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It may be that the lived experience in Japan during the Bretten Woods period of the post-war global trade boom was substantially more positive than the Japanese experience during the globalization period that followed, with its explosion of capital flows.

The globalization phase, after all, was the period with both the lost decade and the current recession.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 07:36:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed!  In the 80s it looked like Japan WAS the island that would own the world, or at least large parts of the USA.  I suspect it is hardly an accident that "globalization" and "The New World Order", originating from the US and orchestrated by Wall Street, worked to the advantage of the US financial corporations and to the disadvantage of Japan.  Would it not be logical that once the USA's chief military and ideological rival, the USSR, dissolved and began to adopt capitalist modes that somehow things would turn to the disadvantage of the world's high riding 2nd largest economy?  That was the time when the total valuation of Tokyo real estate exceeded the value of all of the real estate in California.

Our Wall Street elites and their D.C. political agents certainly are not going to have more concern for the welfare of Japan than they have for the welfare of the USA.  For fifteen years General Electric and others rolled in profits from "the Japan Carry Trade."  Those were the years during which Japan had a Zero Rate Interest Policy.  Borrowing money was free and provision of very low interest rate money was one of the services Japan provided to the US financial sector.  Unfortunately, Japan was undergoing the unwind of their own massive real estate bubble, so the average Japanese citizen did not benefit. The Bank of Japan pioneered this policy of "all money to the banks" that the USA has now adopted.  Both are capitalist societies, so the institutions of capital are "protected" at all costs, costs which are borne by all but the banks.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 10:48:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the time Japan looked like it would own the world it was in fact a huge bubble, so those accounts were a bit like the pre-dotcom bust CW on internet firms.

(all the same the globalisation phase in the '90s and 2000s mainly benefited consumer countries, banks and traders, and not Japan)

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 05:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Bank of Japan pioneered this policy of "all money to the banks" that the USA has now adopted.

From the monetary-libertarian frame of view, what else they can do?

Japanese banks charge still a lot for their services. For example, I moved recently to a new apartment and wanted to arrange automatic monthly payments - but the bank is ripping 735 yen for each monthly transaction (i.e., moving a bunch of electrons) between two private accounts!

by das monde on Tue Sep 1st, 2009 at 12:10:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan has benefited, but certainly I don't think it's the case that Japan's economy has performed very well in the last twenty years.  They had the Lost Decade.  Then they started slowly getting out of it, just in time for the Great Recession to send GDP plummeting at Great Depression-like rates.  Unemployment is apparently at a record high.  Deflation is back.  Exports were down almost 37% as recently as July.  They got a boost last quarter from global stimuli, but the consensus there seems to be that they're simply going to slip back (less to be gained, too, with China and America ramping up their jobs programs, I suspect).

The PM did a massive tax cut that accomplished...well, nothing.

So it strikes me that you have what looks like the perfect recipe for a change in government.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 10:40:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you think of Mr Nakagawa's threat to stop buying US Bonds denominated in dollars?  (Or see Economics section of Aug. 29 Salon, toward the bottom.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 01:30:57 AM EST
Presumably, the Bank of Japan is following the G-8 consensus (reached at the staff level), making lots of calls overseas from time to time. This has allowed substantial independence of financial bureaucrats. The practice will continue.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 03:01:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is not currently the case, the BoJ should consider retaining you as a spokesman!  ;-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 09:51:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
asahi.com(朝日新聞社):〈速報 2297;:民主288議席、自民6 ;4議席 - 2009総選挙asahi.com(Asahi News Company):〈Rush Report〉:Democratic Party of Japan 288 seats、Liberal Democratic Party 64 seats - 2009 General Election
主な政党の議席数Major Party Seat Counts
自 民 64Liberal Democratic Party 64
民 主 288Democratic Party of Japan 288
公 明 13New Komeito Party 13
共 産 7Communist Party 7
社 民 3Social Democratic Party 3
国 民 3People's New Party 3
みんな 4Your Party 4
改 革 0Democratic Reform Party 0
大 地 1New Party Daichi 1
日 本 1Japan Republic Party [?] 1
諸 派 0Minor parties 0
無所属 5Independents 5


The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.
by marco on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 09:39:08 AM EST
Votes are still being counted and seats allocated.

As of 22:51 PM Japan Standard Time,

Democratic Party of Japan: 288 seats

Liberal Democratic Party: 74 seats

Will need to update the above table at the end of counting.

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.

by marco on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 10:03:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like a wipeout.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 10:42:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i.e. the most politically conservative, is turning out to be the most accurate.

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.
by marco on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 11:28:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the LDP's last-minute drive to appeal with their nationalistic base did help them a bit.  "North Korea!", "DPJ hates our flag!", etc, etc.  

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 12:26:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i.e. 'a two-thirds majority, which would allow it to pass bills with no need for coalition partners in the upper house, and so guarantee its primacy for the next four years'?

And if so, could this be a bad thing, as the New York Times claims some in Japan are fretting?

There has even been concern here that the Democrats' margin of victory could be too big. Some in the media have said a landslide could let the Democrats simply replace the Liberal Democrats as a dominant party, instead of creating the competitive two-party democracy that many had hoped would emerge from this election.

Would the people, not the bureaucrats and politicians, 'in Japan's consensus-driven political culture', desiring change and fed up with the LDP, 'abhor' the 'heavy-handed tactics' of a totally dominant DPJ?

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.

by marco on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 12:47:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make that "the presumed  'heavy-handed tactics' of a totally dominant DPJ?"

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 03:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The final count is:
DPJ 308: LDP 119

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 08:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With 53 for small parties, DPJ missed two-thirds. On the other hand: are there any potential allies if they want to push through some change needing two-thirds?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 01:26:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, there are three minor allies.

  1. Social Democrats (former Socialists); 7 seats,
  2. New National Party (those kicked out of LDP for opposition to the postal service privatization); 3
  3. New Japan; 1.

Anyway, with these allies, DPJ will have a majority in the uppoer House too.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 02:55:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But for two-thirds, they'd need two Independents? Or maybe the Communists.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 03:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For two-thirds, yes. Under our constitution, the two-thirds majority is relevant only in the case of (i) two Houses do not agree on a bill, or (ii) a party wants to propose an amendment to the Constitution. Budgets can be passed by a simple majority in the lower House.  

With a simple majority in the lower House and a simple majority in the upper House (with these allies), DPJ can now push through its legislative agenda. As for (ii), I do not believe (and I am vehemently against) they will try to amend the constitution.

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 05:05:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The frequency of constitutional amendments/changes varies greatly from country to country -- it appears from your reaction that in Japan, it's very rare and thus more similar to the USA than say Germany. As for reasons a left-wing party could have to change a constitution: (1) the incorporation of some human right, (2) the nullification of some outdated criminalisation, (3) changes in the election system. If no such thing is necessary and/or on the DPJ's agenda, that's good.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 07:01:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have Article 9 (Renunciation of War) which is still revolutionary, and I am proud of it. Constitutional amendment discussions in Japan often boil down on this Article

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 11:37:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah THAT's the context, then I get it.

I still don't get why American media commentators were afraid of a two-thirds DJP, however...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 11:59:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because whenever there's a swing to the left they feel compelled to concern-troll.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 12:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is japan in anys ense different thatn it was , say three years ago?

or is it the way the seats are allocated?

I understand that I can not understand Japan.. and I guess most of my framework is not useful..

But are changes of this magnitude normal? Woudl they really lead to some change in any area for sure?.. or Japan has its own mega-corporotion lobbyst?

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 01:31:21 PM EST
I never saw anything like this. But my experience is limited to the events since 60s. In 1910s or 1920s, Japanese politics was volatile. In sum, I do not understand this country either.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 08:46:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps, after 60+ years of relative political stasis, Japan has an opportunity to remake itself in a form more suited to new realities.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 09:57:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, this is not normal.  This is a shocking electoral upset of epic proportions that is unprecedented in modern Japan.

What is different from three years ago is that the LDP has suffered from several years of visible, public, and easily recognized confusion and disarray, at least since Koizumi stepped down, and the first period of something approaching economic prosperity came to a quick, cruel, and recent end - and the LDP has had no coherent response.

Will anything actually change?  Who knows.  

by Zwackus on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 09:00:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.. because from here, one never really knows..

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Aug 31st, 2009 at 09:04:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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