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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora