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General Elections Forecast Revolution in Japanese Politics

General Elections Forecast Revolution in Japanese Politics

Posted August. 29, 2009 07:57,   


Tomorrow’s general elections in Japan forecast a major revolution in Japanese politics.

Many polls predict that the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan will secure a landslide victory to control the House of Representatives. Most Japanese media say the party will garner around 320 seats, or around two thirds of the 480 House seats.

The Tokyo daily Mainichi Shimbun yesterday said its national poll of voters conducted Wednesday and Thursday showed 44 percent of voters favor the Democratic Party for electing proportional representatives for the House. This is more than twice the figure for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (21 percent).

The Democratic Party’s approval rating is a record-high 39 percent given its constantly rising support. Corruption resulting from the Liberal Democratic Party’s prolonged control and public objection to money-based politics have caused voters to boycott the Liberal Democrats. The ruling party’s approval rating is a dismal 20 percent.

The daily Asahi Shimbun earlier said its poll of Japan’s 300 small constituencies suggests the Democratic Party will win at least 307 seats and as high as 330. The Liberal Democratic Party is projected to win just 103 seats.

The ruling party has 300 seats and the Democratic Party 115.

If the Democratic Party wins big in tomorrow’s elections, Japan will see its first shift in power since 1955. The Liberal Democratic Party has controlled parliament with the most seats for the past 54 years. The party in 1993 briefly became the opposition party with less than a majority for 10 months, but still had the largest number of seats.

If the Democratic Party secures more than 300 seats tomorrow, it will win the most parliamentary seats in modern Japanese history. The Liberal Democratic Party won 300 seats in the 1986 general elections.

If the Democratic Party secures more than 320 seats, it will hold an absolute majority allowing it to unilaterally reapprove a bill rejected by the House of Councilors,

A Democratic Party-led Japan will likely bring change to Tokyo’s foreign policy. The party says it will pursue equal U.S.-Japan relations, and seek a bigger say vis-à-vis Washington, while shifting its diplomatic policy more toward Asia.

Party leader Yukio Hatoyama, who will probably take over as prime minister, is more flexible in recognizing Japan’s history than the Liberal Democratic Party, as evidenced by his opposition to visits to the infamous Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Class A war criminals from World War II. This is expected to improve Japan’s relations with Korea.