Fifty years of almost unbroken rule seems certain to end with Japan’s main opposition democratic party poised for a landslide election victory this weekend, according to polls.
Yukio Hatoyama looks set to secure a two-thirds majority in parliament’s lower house. Prime Minister Taro Aso’s Liberal Democratic Party has governed for all but 10 months since 1955 but it is hard to find an LDP supporter. “People say the LDP is responsible for Japan’s economic growth, but it wasn’t only them, it was the hard work of people like me. But they then made a policy to exclude elderly people,” said one Tokyo resident. “I think the majority of Japanese people began to see that the LDP’s policies will not work any longer,” said another. The forces that once underpinned the Liberal Democrats’ grip on power no longer apply, and for the first time there is a credible rival in the Democratic Party of Japan which is promising to revive Japan’s fortunes and re-establish its position as the world’s second-largest economy.