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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid