I’ve been in Japan for the last few days, at a conference on Logic, Game Theory and Social Choice where, among other things, we’ve had some interesting discussions on electoral mechanisms. Meanwhile, Japan appears to be on the verge of tipping out the almost-permanent LDP government.
But, as a (non-Japanese speaking) visitor, I can hardly tell there was an election on. I’ve seen no rallies or badges, only a handful of posters and one loudspeaker truck, with a decidedly non-strident woman’s voice issuing what may have been a political message. The English language media I have access to (Asahi Shimbun and so on) has been giving the election about the level of coverage I’d expect for a boring state election at home. I’ll give some very ill-informed thoughts over the fold, but can readers say anything from their own knowledge, or point to useful sources?
From what I can see, the Democratic Party of Japan, who are expected to win easily, have a moderate-left platform that basically amounts to cutting out a lot of LDP patronage and using the proceeds to finance improved social welfare. This looks like good news to me, but it will be interesting to see how they manage the massive debt they will inherit.
And alternation of governments through elections is desirable in general, as compared to the internal LDP machinations that have been the only route to changes of government in the past.
It’s hard to see a machine party like the LDP surviving a substantial spell in opposition, so if the DPJ can do well enough to last a couple of terms, we might see a complete realignment of Japanese politics. But, as I’ve noted, I know much less about this than I probably should. Any better info will be welcome.