Japan's Opposition Party Poised to Take Control of Government

Japan's Opposition Party Poised to Take Control of Government

While the economic crisis continues to batter America and the rest of the world, Obama has made a number of recent moves that have helped to soften the blow- stimulus checks, financial sector bail-outs and the more recent Cash for Clunkers program. Obama also gave a recent vote of confidence to the current economic strategies with his re-appointment of Benjamin Bernake.

While Republicans and Democrats may disagree on the actual causes of the financial crisis or how to deal with it, few are calling for Obama’s ouster, and there is little at this point to indicate that voters will want to see a power shift in the coming Congressional elections. Even if there was a move to another set of leaders, those leaders would likely come from the Republican party.

In Japan, where the economic crisis is wreaking similar havoc, the people are so unhappy with the reaction of the current political leaders that they are indicating a willingness to give an unproven opposition party a try.

The current party in power, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by Prime Minister Taro Aso, has been in power for more than 50 years. The challenging party is the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), who formed in the late 1990’s of members from other parties. The DPJ recently won control of Japan’s upper house and has been blocking the advancement of bills for legislation for close to two years. Through this, the financial markets in Japan have suffered and support for the LDP has waned.

Overall, the ruling LDP is focused on business and the challenging DPJ is focused on the people, primarily dealing with how to help citizens during the financial crisis and how to deal with Japan’s large aging population. They are also in favor of reducing bureaucratic control in the country and forge stronger relations with Asia and become more independent of the U.S.
DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama frames tomorrow’s vote as a chance to change Japanese history.

"This is an election to choose whether voters can muster the courage to do away with the old politics," said Hatoyama.

Media surveys are currently suggesting that the challenging DPJ could claim a landslide victory- and after 50 years of rule by one party, that would truly change the modern history of Japan.
In the U.S. sometimes we get ancy after one or two terms and switch over to a different party- but with over 50 years in office, the LDP has directed Japanese politics and growth since soon after WWII, defining modern Japan’s business growth and foreign relations. Everything I think I know about Japan from afar is probably based on the direction this political party has steered the country.

Some experts suggest that the weather in Japan could play a large role in the outcome of the election- with coming intense storms, less people at the polls is seen as good thing for the party in power, while more voters is seen as a boon for the challenging DPJ.

Expect early next week’s results to be a telling indicator of how one of the biggest and most successful economies in the world responds to one of its deepest recessions.