News / Asia

Japan's Governing Party Resoundingly Ousted in Shift to Right

Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) marks on the name of one of those elected in parliamentary elections at the party headquarters in Tokyo, December 16, 2012. Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) marks on the name of one of those elected in parliamentary elections at the party headquarters in Tokyo, December 16, 2012.
x
Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) marks on the name of one of those elected in parliamentary elections at the party headquarters in Tokyo, December 16, 2012.
Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) marks on the name of one of those elected in parliamentary elections at the party headquarters in Tokyo, December 16, 2012.
Japan's governing party has suffered a crushing election defeat. Results of parliamentary elections Sunday show the next government will be formed by the Liberal Democratic Party. The conservatives and their allies are expected to take a more hawkish approach in confronting the country's neighbors, but what they plan to do to reverse Japan's long economic decline remains murky.

Japanese voters, as forecast, have tossed out the party they brought into power three years ago.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), crippled by defections of lawmakers from its ranks, lost more than two-thirds of its seats in the more powerful 480-seat lower house of parliament (officially the House of Representatives).

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda conceded at a brief news conference.

Noda says the defeat is his personal responsibility, therefore he will resign as head of the party.

Among the dozen parties fielding candidates, at the top with a landslide victory is the Liberal Democratic Party, capturing a comfortable majority of seats. It governed Japan virtually uninterrupted from 1955 until 2009.

The LDP, Japan's traditional conservative party, allied with the New Komei Party (which is closely linked to the controversial Buddhist sect Soka Gakkai), is poised to have a two-thirds majority in the lower house. That will allow it to over ride any vetoes of legislation by the upper house (also known as the House of Councilors), where the Democratic Party of Japan is the largest single party.

The next upper house election is expected in July.

Poised to become Japan's next prime minister is a third-generation politician, and relative of two former prime ministers, Shinzo Abe, who held the job briefly from 2006 into the following year.

Abe says he realizes 100 percent of the electorate does not believe in the LDP, despite the party's resounding victory.

Abe, speaking on the quasi-official NHK network, says the reason the DPJ lost is because it horribly mismanaged the government for the past three years. He promises the LDP will try to stay on its toes and live up to the hopes of the people.

Abe, who is 58 and known for his hawkish stance towards China, says he does not desire to raise tensions with Beijing, but there is no doubt the Senkaku islands are Japanese.

China also claims the tiny islands, which it calls the Diaoyu, in the East China Sea, saying they have been its inherent territory since “ancient times.” Tension over the islands has spiked dramatically this year.

Japanese voters failed to muster substantial enthusiasm for several new parties, which vowed to upend the traditional political scene.

They include parties taking a strong anti-nuclear stance following reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant, which was swamped by a March 11th, 2011 tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

Abe is considered an advocate of nuclear power. The Kyodo news agency says the LDP's strong electoral performance is likely to mean Japan will retract its nuclear phase-out goal announced under the DPJ government. All but two of the country's 50 nuclear power reactors are offline.

One of the new parties captured about as many seats as the DPJ managed to retain. The Japan Restoration Party was started by Shintaro Ishihara. The 80-year-old, known for his harsh comments against China and other foreign countries, quit as Tokyo governor to launch a new national political movement.

Ishihara, who won a seat in parliament Sunday, joined forces with populist Osaka governor Toru Hashimoto, who quickly folded his new party into Ishihara's.

Ishihara favors revising the pacifist Article 9 of the country's constitution to allow Japan to again have a normal army and engage in collective self defense.

Ishihara says the LDP has done little to try to accomplish this, but he is hopeful now about a new constitution as Abe has expressed strong support for the idea.

Voter surveys found the economy, rather than geopolitical worries or anxiety about nuclear plants, as their primary concern. Despite that, the electorate is returning to power the same party that was at the helm during Japan's long economic decline.

Abe promises to end deflation, lower the value of the yen and grow an economy mired in a deflationary spiral for years. Some critics contend Abe's economic plan essentially consists of a massive increase of government spending that will further swell a debt load already twice the size of Japan's economy.

Abe is expected to officially be elected prime minister in a session of the lower house on December 26.

You May Like

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid