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PacNet #34 – Japan’s Drift and its Implications for the US-Japan Alliance

In the House of Councillors (Upper House) election on July 11, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) suffered a defeat.  Missing the goal set by Prime Minister Kan Naoto, the DPJ gained only 44 seats. The party’s inability to gain a single-party majority in the Upper House means that political instability in Tokyo will continue at least until the next House of Representatives (Lower House) election, which is unlikely to be held until the summer of 2013.  US alliance managers must be prepared to deal with a partner that is unable to make difficult decisions for the foreseeable future.