Shinzo Abe-led LDP Wins Japan General Elections

Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party surged back to power in a major election victory on December 26, 2012. Just three years after it was defeated in 2009, former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe-led LDP trounced PM Yoshihiko Noda’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The DJP had come to power in August 2009 with 308 seats, ending an LDP monopoly which had lasted all but 11 months of the previous 53 years.

The general election witnessed one of the biggest landslides in the history of modern Japan. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), with its New Komeito ally, swept to power with control 0f 325 of the 480 seats in the lower house of the Diet.

LDP has ruled Japan for most of the post World War II era till 2009, when Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan came to power. Abe’s win also spells a rightward shift in the government that further signifies a possible increase in tensions with China over the disputed islands in South China Sea.noda2_2346444b

The DPJ won in a landslide in 2009 amid high hopes for change, but won only 57 seats, compared to 230 seats before the election. Among the casualties were eight Cabinet ministers, the most to lose their seats in an election since World War II.

With Japan stuck in a two-decade slump and receding behind China as the voters appeared ready to turn back to the LDP. The LDP wants to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution to strengthen its self-defense forces and, breaching a postwar taboo, designate them as a “military.” It also proposes increasing Japan’s defense budget and allowing Japanese troops to engage in “collective self-defense” operations with allies that are not directly related to Japan’s own defense.

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