After a Landslide Victory, Japan's LDP Returns to Power

18-12-2012

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is returning to power after three years. The results signal a sharp rejection of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which has governed only since 2009. These were the first general elections held since Japan's 2011 'triple disaster'. After 54 years of almost unbroken rule, Japan's LDP government was ousted in 2009. Successive DPJ governments were unable to keep their campaign promises. Frequently shifting governments have not overcome Japan's prolonged political and economic problems. Although 12 parties campaigned, the real competition was between the LDP, the DPJ and the JRP, with a few additional parties playing a minor role. Small parties could play a role in the coalition government. The stagnant economy, nuclear power and regional relations were the most pressing campaign issues. How to boost the economic growth while controlling the public debt and maintaining public support will be a challenge for any government. Giving up nuclear energy will be costly for Japanese national economy, although this is the preference of most Japanese citizens. Territorial disputes must be treated gently so as not to disrupt Japan's international trade. Reviving the economy will be Shinzo Abe's priority. International relations are likely to shift, with Abe seeking to avoid antagonising China. Relations with other Asian nations are also likely to develop.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is returning to power after three years. The results signal a sharp rejection of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which has governed only since 2009. These were the first general elections held since Japan's 2011 'triple disaster'. After 54 years of almost unbroken rule, Japan's LDP government was ousted in 2009. Successive DPJ governments were unable to keep their campaign promises. Frequently shifting governments have not overcome Japan's prolonged political and economic problems. Although 12 parties campaigned, the real competition was between the LDP, the DPJ and the JRP, with a few additional parties playing a minor role. Small parties could play a role in the coalition government. The stagnant economy, nuclear power and regional relations were the most pressing campaign issues. How to boost the economic growth while controlling the public debt and maintaining public support will be a challenge for any government. Giving up nuclear energy will be costly for Japanese national economy, although this is the preference of most Japanese citizens. Territorial disputes must be treated gently so as not to disrupt Japan's international trade. Reviving the economy will be Shinzo Abe's priority. International relations are likely to shift, with Abe seeking to avoid antagonising China. Relations with other Asian nations are also likely to develop.