Official campaigning in Japan’s general election has begun with the opposition poised to take control for only the second time in half a century.
Polls suggest Prime Minister Taro Aso’s ruling conservative Liberal Democrat party is struggling, as Japan exits its worst recession in decades. The opposition Democrat party led by Yukio Hatoyama looks set to become the main beneficiaries. They have pledged to revive the economy by boosting consumer spending. On the diplomatic front, they’ve also vowed to adopt a less subservient role with Washington. In Tokyo, people are gearing themselves up for the August 30th poll. ‘‘I think the voter turnout will be high this time because this is an election that could change the government and affect everybody’s lives,’‘ one man said. ‘‘I haven’t decided which party to vote for because none of the opposition parties seems attractive enough. What we need is a hero,’‘ another woman said. Observers say a victory for the opposition Democrat party would likely end Japan’s policy deadlock by unifying its parliament. It is hoped that would lead to smoother decision making as Japan attempts to shake off recession.