TOKYO – Japan’s prolonged political anni horribiles – spanning more than half a decade – has ended. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a decisive victory in elections to the upper house of parliament held on July 21, bringing to an end the indecisive politics caused by the lack of an effective majority.
During the previous six years, there were six prime ministers, ten defense ministers, and 14 justice ministers (ten of whom came and went during the 39 months of rule by the Democratic Party of Japan). These figures indicate just how unstable the country’s political situation had become.
But anxiety about the immature DPJ government, prolonged deflation, and unprecedented challenges posed by neighboring countries created a widespread sense of crisis among Japanese voters. It was this that motivated them to return the LDP to power, though many voters seemed fed up with the party just a few short years ago.
In the recent election campaign, the LDP continued to criticize the previous DPJ government’s immaturity, but avoided attacks on other parties. Instead, the LDP highlighted the beneficial effects of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reforms (colloquially known as “Abenomics”), such as increased share prices, faster GDP growth, and higher employment, all of which have created hope for a turnaround in Japan’s prospects.