Analysis: Japan politics could fragment further on road to two-party system
News On Japan via 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.
The 24-year-old suspect in the murder of a man on a street in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday is believed to have posted a profile online in which he identified himself as a "celeb NEET," meaning a celebrity without a job, according to local online news site J-Cast News. (Japan Times )
The proportion of single nonregular Japanese male workers in their 20s who have girlfriends stood at 18.7 pct in 2012, against 30.7 pct for regular employees, a government survey revealed Thursday. (Jiji Press )
Police in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Wednesday night arrested a 24-year-old unemployed man over four knife attacks within 10 minutes that left one man dead and three others injured on a street. (Japan Today )
Japanese commercial music juggernaut AKB48 is looking to build on its wildly successful all-girl group by adding a more mature member to its teen-dominated line-up, an advert released Wednesday said.
A 27-year-old man wanted in connection with the murder of his mother in Saitama Prefecture, and who was shot by police while trying to escape in a stolen taxi on New Year's Eve, was arrested on Tuesday. (Japan Today )