There has been a boost on the Tokyo stock exchange, but a mixed reaction in the region’s press after the Japanese Prime Minister’s landslide election victory.
Junichiro Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party took 296 seats in the 480 seat lower house of parliament, the first time it has won a majority in the chamber in 15 years. Japan’s Nikkei index hit a four year high after the results came through. Some newspapers in the region, however, say Koizumi’s win is not good news for those keen to see an improvement in Tokyo’s soured relations with its Asian neighbours. The mainstream South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo warned that Koizumi’s party will move further to the right and show nationalistic tendencies abroad. The Prime Minister has angered China and South Korea by visiting a shrine for war dead in Tokyo, seen by leaders in Beijing and Seoul as a place that glorifies Japan’s past militarism. On the economic front, Koizumi’s vowing to press ahead with plans to privatise Japan Post, and has dismissed criticism that he has few other concrete plans on his policy agenda.