"Cambridge Gazette: Politico-Economic Commentaries" No.1 (August 31, 2009)

Japan's General Election: A Political "Zugzwang"?

  • Jun Kurihara
  • Research Director
    Jun Kurihara
  • [Expertise]
    U.S. Information and Network

 Japan's general election marked the tragic end of post-war dominance by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) achieved a lopsided victory. The DPJ won 308 seats and secured an absolutely stable majority without forging any alliances (See Tables 1 and 2). The LDP, in contrast, had a disastrous collapse, losing 181 seats; the LDP's defeat might fit a metaphor--red card (i.e., a soccer player is ordered not to play any longer at a game)--a harsh punishment by the referee (this time, the Japanese electorate) against the soccer player (the LDP) who caused commotion by breaching the code of behavior. In the eyes of the Japanese people, the DPJ does not deserve credit for its historic victory though it gained 193 seats (See the first two columns of Table 2). Instead, the results of the election are seen as a humiliating loss for the LDP that had already self-destructed as a result of lamentable political mismanagement under the last three prime ministers--Shinzo Abe, Yasuo Fukuda, and Taro Aso, all of whom had either a grandfather or father who had served as a prominent prime minister of post-war Japan. ......

“Cambridge Gazette: Politico-Economic Commentaries” No.1 (August 31, 2009) PDF:112.2 KB

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