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Netto Azure
August 28th, 2009, 06:24 PM
Japan election campaign begins (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8206472.stm)


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46221000/jpg/_46221343_-3.jpg

Taro Aso's party has governed for most of the past half century

Campaigning has formally begun in Japan ahead of a general election that could see a rare change of power.


The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has ruled for more than 50 years, with just one single break of less than one year.
But it is currently trailing in opinion polls behind the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) with less than two weeks to go before the 30 August vote.
Japan has been wracked by its steepest recession in decades, and analysts say this could harm the LDP's chances.
Even though the latest figures show the economy is now growing again, Prime Minister Taro Aso - the LDP leader - admits few people have felt the benefit yet.
The DPJ, led by Yukio Hatoyama, wants to shift the focus of government from supporting corporations to helping consumers and workers - challenging the status quo that has existed since the end of World War II.
There are pledges of generous allowances for children, pension reforms and tax cuts, but according to the BBC's correspondent in Tokyo, Roland Buerk, the opposition has offered few explanations of how to pay for the plans beyond eliminating waste.

'New era'


Mr Aso seemed determined to fight his corner as he rallied supporters in the Tokyo heat.
"We will press ahead," he said, boasting of his party's financial stimulus measures a day after new data showed the country - Asia's biggest economy - had lifted out of recession.
"Our economic measures are kicking in for sure," he said.
But had added that his party was "not finished with our efforts to see economic recovery. Recovery is our foremost priority".
Meanwhile Mr Hatoyama called for change, and outlined his vision of a stronger social welfare system and less bureaucracy.
"The day has come to change the history of Japan," Mr Hatoyama said on a campaign tour in the western city of Osaka. "Let's step into a new era with courage."
In a poll released on Tuesday by the Asahi, one of Japan's most influential newspapers, 40% of voters backed the DPJ, compared with 21% who support the LDP.
LOL I just had to link this XD:

Japan braced for political earthquake (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8227684.stm)

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46285000/jpg/_46285781_007729338-2.jpg
Many enjoy adopting the character - and costume - of anime personalities
Dressing up
Now, you only have to wander the streets of Tokyo to see how that pent-up repression has boiled over into the wackier side of Japanese pop culture where the geek is king.
Cos-play is popular - dressing up as a favourite animation cartoon, or anime, character.

Bo Peep-meets-French-maid is a current teenage favourite, but it is not just the young - big-eyed anime models wear school uniforms with short skirts and tight tops.
Danny Choo is the 30-something son of the famous luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo, and he runs an internet business from Tokyo which appeals to anime geeks the world over. He says it gets 20 million hits a month.
His cos-play is a Star Wars Stormtrooper and he happily puts it on for a stroll around town.
"When I watch anime I feel like I am in a completely different world," he said.
"I guess it's something you have which takes you away - I wouldn't call it escapism, but it lets you indulge another world."
It's the side of Japan which has been breaking free from the customs and traditions of old.
Anyways, Japan in transition eh?

I'm still surprised at the realization that so many National elections have occurred over this 2 year span and in the middle of the Great Recession. =/

1KewlDude
August 28th, 2009, 06:32 PM
now's the most important time for change i guess... although there hasn't been an election in the UK...

Esper
August 28th, 2009, 10:16 PM
Despite being quite important this election isn't turning many heads.

Every day for the past week or two a candidate from the LDP has driven through my neighborhood, standing out through the sunroof of a small van equipped with loudspeakers and covered in campaign posters as he repeats the same 30 lines from a speech that everyone on the street does their best to ignore. (If you think that is weird, you might not even believe me when I tell you it's the same way every politician runs for office. Really, it is.) While I'm glad no one is listening to this guy, it worries me that people can be so apolitical here despite the fact that Japan's current ruling jerkfaces political party is old, corrupt, ineffectual and wants to roll back some of the constitutional restrictions that prevent Japan from engaging in war.

Starom
August 29th, 2009, 12:02 PM
It'd be good to see them beaten by a more progressive party. It was funny, though - the Communists were tipped to do really well this year, although it looks like, now, the victory will go to a party that's more moderate. I fear that the Communists, though, have done a bit of a New Labour - lost all of their core principles in favour of vote-winning moderation :(

Esper
August 30th, 2009, 05:53 AM
Looks like a landslide win for the Democratic Party. I'm quite surprised by the turnout. Now I wonder if the new government will try to change its military relationship with the US.

Jordan
August 30th, 2009, 07:11 AM
It's ironic how the Liberal Democrat party is similar to Conservative Republicans /Captain Obviousism.

Hopefully, if they do actually lose, this will be like the last time they lost. Japan is too important a right-wing nation for it to go down.

Starom
August 31st, 2009, 02:50 AM
Wow - what a battering XD It looks as though they were very thoroughly beaten - this time, I'd rather it lasts... Still, I not overly keen on the thought of Japan re-becoming a military nation - there are enough nations at war as it is... Still, I guess it'll be better than the US flaunting its authority of the country? :P

Netto Azure
August 31st, 2009, 09:42 AM
Wow...A stunning defeat and reversal. Well, I guess it's more Social Welfare spending then...


Media forecasts give the DPJ 308 of the 480 seats in the lower house to the LDP's 119, almost an exact reversal of their previous standing.
The LDP had 303 seats in the outgoing parliament, compared to the DPJ's 112.

Kyodo News agency put turn-out at 69%, up from 67.5% in 2005

Japan's Hatoyama sweeps to power (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8229988.stm)

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46295000/jpg/_46295714_hatoyama_ap.jpg
Mr Hatoyama is likely to be confirmed as prime minister in two weeks' time



Japan's next leader, Yukio Hatoyama, is beginning a transition to power after winning a landmark general election.
Exit polls show his Democratic Party of Japan overwhelmingly defeated the Liberal Democratic Party, which has governed almost unbroken since 1955.
PM Taro Aso has conceded defeat and said he would resign as LDP head.
Media forecasts give the DPJ 308 of the 480 seats in the lower house to the LDP's 119, almost an exact reversal of their previous standing.
Japan's Nikkei stock market index jumped to an 11-month high in early trading as the scale of the DPJ's victory became clear, but the rise of the yen and Chinese stock falls led to an overall fall of 0.3%.
Official results are still to be released.
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Mr Hatoyama, the wealthy heir to an industrial and political dynasty, is expected to announce a transition team later in the day.
He is expected to be confirmed as prime minister when parliament meets in about two weeks.
His Cabinet is expected to be in place by then, and his party is also in coalition talks with two smaller opposition parties whose support it needs in the upper house.
"It's taken a long time, but we have at last reached the starting line," Mr Hatoyama told a news conference at his home in Tokyo on Monday.
"This is by no means the destination. At long last we are able to move politics, to create a new kind of politics that will fulfil the expectations of the people."
Mr Aso said he would step down as LDP leader - his successor is expected to be named in September.
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"I have no plan to run for re-election," he said, quoted by the Associated Press. "The most important thing is rejuvenating our party."
Kotaro Tamura, another LDP lawmaker, said: "We made too many mistakes. Very crucial mistakes... we changed prime minister three times without holding an election."

'Close partnership'

Correspondents say attention will now to turn to whether Mr Hatoyama can deliver on his election promises.
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He must steer the world's second biggest economy back to sustainable growth after a crushing recession, and tackle record unemployment.
Mr Hatoyama has also promised to expand the welfare state, even though Japan is already deeply in debt and the rapidly ageing population is straining social security budgets.
On foreign affairs, the DPJ says it plans to create a new diplomacy less subservient to the US and to improve relations with Japan's Asian neighbours.
The White House has already said it hopes to forge strong ties with the incoming government.
"We are confident that the strong US-Japan alliance and the close partnership between our two countries will continue to flourish under the leadership of the next government," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
Kyodo News agency put turn-out at 69%, up from 67.5% in 2005.
Officials said people turned out despite a combination of typhoon-triggered rainfall around Tokyo and a government warning that a swine flu epidemic was under way.

JAPANESE MEDIA REACTION TO THE ELECTION

"Even while the public harboured apprehensions about the DPJ, it was the sense of urgency that there was no way out of the current deadlock without a political breakthrough that generated this tremendous seismic change. Many challenges await the new government to be headed by DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama. It must bring about change without growing complacent in numbers, and with the spirit and readiness to revamp Japanese politics."
The Mainichi Daily News on the (http://http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20090831p2a00m0na019000c.html) challenge facing Mr Hatoyama and the DPJ .

"His political credo of "yuai" (fraternalism) comes from his grandfather. But it is an unfamiliar term to most people, and his behaviour has been considered bizarre at times. But his steadiness during the three years he served as secretary general under Ichiro Ozawa helped him return to the DPJ's helm as a self-avowed "mature Hatoyama", humbled, chastened and cured of his past indecisiveness."
The Japan Times describes (http://http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090831a6.html) Mr Hatoyama as "more capable" .

"The party's immediate task will be to find ways to recover from this historic defeat. However, it will not be easy for the LDP to rally from the catastrophic blow of this election, in which many party heavyweights lost their seats."
The Daily Yomiuri on the (http://http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20090831TDY02307.htm) task facing the LDP .

ANALYSIS
Roland Buerk, BBC News, Tokyo
The vote was as much an expression of disgust with the Liberal Democratic Party as an endorsement of the Democratic Party of Japan.
But the people have handed Mr Hatoyama a thumping majority and the legislative clout to push change through parliament.
His challenge now is not to disappoint.