Sunday, August 30, 2009

Liberal Democrats Ousted in Japan

Japan's Liberal Democratic Party have been ousted in parliamentary elections.

Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, is poised to become Japan's next Prime Minister in September.

Do these elections represent a sea change in Japan?

I don't think they do.

Although the Democratic Party of Japan is to the left of the LDP it must be remembered that many in the DPJ were formerly with the LDP including Hatomaya. If the DPJ achieves any kind of success in office it will likely take over the role the LDP has played since 1955.

On the other hand, the LDP was out of power between 1993 and 1996. Yet the last non-LDP coalition went through three Prime Ministers in three years and couldn't stamp out an identity for itself. Now one could make the case the LDP has had three Prime Ministers since Junichiro Koizumi left office in 2006. But the LDP is a known quantity in Japan even if its brand name is diminished at the moment. Unless the DPJ can come up with a leader (be it Hatomaya or someone else) with the kind of popularity Koizumi had while in office methinks the LDP will be back by 2012.

No comments: