Japanese politics are shifting to the right, and the impact on regional security could be crucial.
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise victory to head Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last week represents a second chance to lead the conservative party and, by early next year, very possibly all of Japan.
His first stint as prime minister ended in 2007 with a whimper after just a year. A second go as Japan's leader is apt to be accompanied by noisier ambitions.
Before one assumes this has something to do with major reforms within the LDP or Abe's charisma (many Japanese are impressed by neither), Japan's political currents are primarily driven by disappointment in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Although Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda may be the best of three successive DPJ leaders since taking control of the country in 2009, he could feel the full brunt of electoral frustration at the next election, as early as November but no later than next summer.
The DJP gained power three years ago with inflated expectations. The party was only established in 1998 by former LDP kingpin Ichiro Ozawa. Three years ago, Ozawa could take comfort in his revenge against the LDP; today, there is political irony in that the beleaguered Ozawa's decision to bolt the party this past July had the principal effect of undermining Noda's political power.
Although the DPJ touts the slogan, "Restoring Vitality to Japan," its present trajectory is one of rapid deceleration. This sets the stage for Abe to lead the LDP to form a new coalition government in the coming months. And although he, too, mostly likely will not be able to win an outright majority, he is poised to assemble an historic constellation of conservative forces.
This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times )
The parents of a nightclub worker killed in an arson fire three years ago filed a suit in the Nagoya District Court on Monday seeking damages against top members of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group. (Tokyo Reporter )
Kyodo News said Monday that it has dismissed Satoshi Kondo, 51, deputy chief of its general administration bureau and former personnel affairs division chief, for meeting individually with a female student searching for a job and doing an inappropriate act.
(Jiji Press )