Japan is set for a general election on August 30 that could end the longstanding dominance of Prime Minister Taro Aso’s liberal democrats.
After a crushing defeat for the party in local elections in Tokyo, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary accepted the result, calling it “very severe.” Party offficials say Aso will dissolve parliament next week. His party has enjoyed almost unbroken rule for fifty years but his own popularity ratings have fallen to just 20 percent of the Japanese public. On Sunday Aso’s party lost the majority in Tokyo’s assembly that it had held for 40 years. Aso has six weeks to turn his party’s chances around but calls are already growing for him to step down sooner. The opposition Democrats may push for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, who could also face a leadership challenge from those in his own party.