Tough task for DPJ

By Zhang Lili
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, July 13, 2010
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The coalition government led by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has suffered a big loss in the Upper House vote on Sunday, winning only 44 seats out of the contested 121, or half of the total 242 seats in the house. The People's New Party, the DPJ's coalition partner, failed to win any seat.


Future of balance [By Jiao Haiyang/] 

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the biggest opposition group, won 51 seats compared with the 38 it held previously, and Your Party gained 10 seats, increasing the possibility that it will play a bigger role on the country's political stage.

After the election, the DPJ-led coalition will hold 110 seats in the Upper House, less than the 132 seats garnered by opposition groups, heralding an uphill task for the coalition government to persuade opposition parties into passing any legislation in the house

The latest election is expected to significantly influence Japanese politics.

The DPJ's below-par election result is a reflection of the dissatisfaction among the Japanese public towards the coalition government's policies, as indicated by the declining number of votes in its favor.

Ever since it came to power in September 2009, the DPJ's public approval has been on the decline given the setbacks the ruling party encountered over a series of domestic and diplomatic policies.

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's pursuit of tougher diplomacy towards the United States, especially on the issue of relocating Washington's military base from Okinawa, strained Japan's decades-long close ties with its largest ally.

However, Hatoyama finally failed to relocate the US base from the islands, a commitment he had made to the public during the election campaign, and it sparked strong discontent among the Japanese, especially local residents.

To boost its dented approval ratings ahead of the Upper House election, the DPJ-led coalition government had to announce Hatoyama's resignation on June 2 and appoint Naoto Kan to head the Cabinet on June 4.

However, the fewer number of seats it has won in the latest elections indicates that the Kan-led coalition government has achieved little in a month-long endeavor to boost its image among voters. The election result means political games and struggles between the DPJ-led coalition government and opposition forces will dominate Japan's politics in future.

The coalition's failure to hold the majority of upper house seats is also expected to result in such a rivalry. While the Upper House is controlled by the opposition, the Lower House is held by the coalition government.

Such a political landscape will make it difficult for the DPJ-led coalition government to manage the country. In order to gain the majority in the Upper House and ensure that its policies and regulations can be easily passed, the ruling DPJ has to seek a new partner to organize a coalition government.

Given that the People's New Party, its current coalition partner, only holds three seats in the Upper House, the DPJ will have to look for another partner that holds more seats.

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