Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
When Japan’s new opposition leader compared ruling party lawmakers cheering the prime minister’s policy speech to “Hitler Youth”, the comment grabbed headlines, though it was perhaps just a sign of the depth of opposition frustration.
“I got the impression that the atmosphere in parliament was similar to the Hitler Youth agreeing to Hitler’s speech,” Liberal Democratic Party leader Sadakazu Tanigaki told reporters after Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s first policy speech since his Democratic Party ousted the LDP in a historic August election.
Hatoyama’s Democrats trounced the LDP in the lower house election, taking 308 seats in the 480-member chamber, while the conservative party that had ruled Japan for most of the past half-century lost its grip on power after its presence was slashed to a mere 119.
The LDP defeat was particularly stunning given that in the previous general election in 2005, popular LDP leader Junichiro Koizumi had led his party to a massive victory with talk of bold reforms, only to see the tables turned four years later.