Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Five years ago, Japanese voters seeking change from stale politics and a stagnant economy backed maverick leader Junichiro Koizumi’s calls for reform, handing his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) a huge win in an election for parliament’s powerful lower house.
Two years, several scandals and one incompetent prime minister later, they dealt the same LDP a stinging setback in a 2007 upper house election, creating a “Twisted Parliament” where the upper chamber could stall bills and delay policies.
The gridlock toppled the LDP’s Shinzo Abe and his successor, each after about a year in office, and finally last summer the same electorate — still longing for something new and better — swept the novice Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to power, ending more than half a century of almost non-stop LDP rule and ejecting Taro Aso from the PM’s seat. The DPJ, voters hoped, would make good on promises to change how Japan was governed, ending bureaucratic control of policies, and somehow ensuring that Japan emerged from two decades of the doldrums.
Now, after less than a year of chaotic policymaking, indecisive leadership and more scandals under DPJ premier Yukio Hatoyama, followed by sudden talk of a sales tax hike from former grassroots activist Naoto Kan, who took over when Hatoyama suddenly quit, frustrated voters did it again.
If ever proof were needed that personal ties can trump policy in Japanese political alliances , a new party being set up by a band of ageing opposition MPs should do the trick.
Former Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano, 71, favours raising taxes to pay for burgeoning social welfare costs in Japan’s greying society and helped push to privatise Japan’s huge postal system back in 2005.
from Raw Japan:
Some elections count more than others, and never more than when a longstanding dominant party is sent packing. I've been lucky enough to witness turning points in four countries on two continents.
France, India, Italy, now Japan -- all have rejected one-party dominance for the rough and tumble of alternating majorities. In each case, I was fortunate to behold history.