Analysis: Japan politics could fragment further on road to two-party system
Reuters -- Nov 19
Japan ruling party lawmaker Mieko Nakabayashi isn't just worried that her Democratic Party will lose power in next month's election; she fears a comeback by rival conservative Liberal Democrats will spell a return to the prolonged one-party rule that critics blame for many of the country's past policy ills.
Three years after the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ended more than half a century of nearly non-stop Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) rule, surveys suggest disappointed voters will hand the LDP the most seats in a December 16 poll for parliament's lower house. That would put LDP leader Shinzo Abe in pole position to form the next government and regain a job he quit in 2007.
"The risk is that the old LDP will come back and once that happens, Japan will take a long time to change back," said Nakabayashi, a former academic elected in the 2009 vote that propelled the Democrats to power for the first time.
"The DPJ could be an opposition party forever," she said, in an interview in her office near parliament.
Critics say the LDP's long reign created a triad of ruling politicians, bureaucrats and vested interests such as farmers, doctors and big businesses that rigidified over time, keeping Japan from responding to global and domestic changes.
Not all agree Japan's experiment with alternating power between two big parties is over after just three years, though some pundits agree the Democrats' demise can't be ruled out.
Just over one ton of water contaminated with radioactive particulates leaked from one of the containment vessels at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said. (Japan Today )
Japan is expected to secure the minimum required power supply capacity when electricity demand peaks in August, even if all the country's nuclear reactors remain offline, estimates by major regional utilities showed Thursday. (Kyodo )
A former Bridgestone Corp. (5108) executive agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices for auto parts, a day after a grand jury indicted another executive and two former workers at the Japanese tire maker. (Bloomberg )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )
People enjoy viewing the 15-meter snow walls of the Yuki no Otani (Great Snow Valley), along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps to link Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (The Japan News )
Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
Apparently perplexed but thrilled to find himself in the spotlight, Iwao Hakamada, formerly the world's longest-serving death-row inmate, made his first public appearance Monday in Tokyo since being released from prison and hospitalized. (Japan Times )
Aichi prefectural police are investigating a possible link between the discovery of the bodies of a husband and wife and their eldest son, and the body of a male relative of the deceased family who was found hanging by his neck in a hotel. (Japan Today )