Dec 21

Good analysis of the LDP return to power from The Monkey Cage

This post from The Monkey Cage by political science professor Joshua Tucker citing Christina Davis is the most in-depth and current piece I’ve seen explaining what the LDP re-election is really all about and putting Japan’s current situation in perspective.

2012 Japan Post-Election Report: They Are Back! The Return of the LDP and What it Means for Japan and the World

Here are some excerpts:

Despite electoral victory, the LDP did not receive a strong mandate. In a post-election poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun, respondents asked to explain the LDP victory cited “disappointment of the DPJ government” (81 percent) rather than “support for the LDP’s policies” (7 percent).


In what could be seen as a profile in courage or political suicide, Prime Minister Noda made a deal with the LDP in August that in exchange for their support to pass an unpopular tax increase, he would agree to call for an early election.

The DPJ’s ability to allocate pork barrel policies as the incumbent party made it hard for the LDP to differentiate itself on bread and butter issues, and it instead had to rely on nationalism to mobilize a new policy frame.


Going forward, it is probable that the LDP will deliver what Noda could not and bring Japan into the TPP negotiations.  Despite the party’s tepid stance toward the trade talks during the election, in order to deliver on its promise to revitalize the economy the party cannot only cater to rural interests in protection.


China has viewed the election with alarm as sign of movement toward resurgent nationalism and anti-China sentiment in Japan. This fear is misplaced given that the electoral politics reflected rejection of DPJ more than endorsement of LDP…… Chinese leaders are equally committed to economic growth and must recognize that efforts to coerce Japan through economic policies may backfire as did the embargo on rare earth mineral exports imposed in October 2010. The key will be to avoid misunderstandings and accidents through clear diplomacy on both sides to assure that posturing for domestic audiences does not aggravate relations.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.


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