If you think Britain is bad…

…with it’s 18 years of Conservative followed by 12 years of Labour rule then spare a thought for the people of Japan who have just ended nearly 54 years of one party government (bar 4 months). Dictatorships can last considerably shorter lengths of time than 54 years; nations can be formed (and blink out of existence) and all through it Japan’s conservatively-minded Liberal Democrat’s kept hold of the reins of power. However, it’s rule is no more with the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DJP) taking 308 of the 480 seats in the lower house (Diet).

The DJP now faces a long and bitter struggle to gain control of it’s own state machinery according to the Taipei Times;

“Once in power, the DPJ will immediately confront the massive bureaucracy and entrenched mandarins, which usually sabotage any efforts at administrative reform that threatens their power and vested interests.”

It call’s the DJP’s victory a major shift in favour of ‘society’. However, it is hardly surprising after over 50 years of rule that the Japan Times sees the victory as less than a ringing endorsement;

The election’s outcome should not be interpreted as a simple “yes” vote for the DPJ, despite its landslide victory. It was, in fact, a “no” vote for the LDP”.

Indeed, this view seems to be backed-up by surveys which show 64% of Japanese have low expectations of the winners which shows if nothing else how demoralising long spells of one party monopoly on government are in a democracy. Economically, Japan has been stagnant for a long period of time and gone are the days when it was regraded with starry-eyed admiration; it has never really properly recovered from the stock market crash in 1989. Politically now it may well be opening-up a new era but what precisely that will actually mean is not even said to be known amongst the highest circles of the governing party itself so the rest of the world, particularly the United States, will have to wait and see.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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