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PacNet #40 – Japan goes boldly – backward?

No one predicted the size of Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro’s election victory last weekend. The landslide win has transformed the landscape of Japanese politics. Oddly, the new picture looks a lot like the old Japan: dominated by a single party – the familiar Liberal Democratic Party (LPD) – without a credible opposition. The election itself was strangely familiar, too: driven by personalities – at least that of the prime minister – rather than any serious discussion of policies. The result is not likely to be great change, however: with Koizumi remaining as prime minister, the ship of state will maintain its present course. Things will get interesting in a year, when the time comes to pick a successor – if the prime minister keeps his oft-repeated promise to step down when his term is up.