Japan faces a summer of electioneering and the possibility of historic change, after the ruling Liberal Democrats accepted the inevitable and dissolved parliament. Faced with slumping poll figures and a loss of confidence, Prime Minister Taro Aso called an election at the end of August, which could see the end of 50 years of near-unbroken rule by his party.
“We have decided to go ahead with dissolving parliament and calling an election because we need the public’s cooperation and understanding if we are to build a safe and vigorous society in the future,” said government spokesman Takeo Kawamura. Things look grim for the government: last week they were trounced in local elections in Tokyo, and many expect the opposition Democrats to win. But some worry that their spending plans will inflate an already-ballooning public debt as Japan struggles to climb out of recession.