Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | September 2, 2009

Dynamic Political Times in Japan

Political Sign in Mizonokuchi

Political Sign in Mizonokuchi

Just this last weekend, Japanese voters pronounced the “Liberal Democratic Party” (LDP) dead in the failure of Japan’s recent economic past.

The victors?  The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).  They’ve never been in power here.  Never.

When the U.S. swept a new democratic government into Japan after WWII, the conservative LDP took the reins and held them consistently for over forty years.  Now, they have been plagued with so many scandals and shamed-filled resignations (like the one this week from the most recent prime minister, Taro Aso) that they have been pushed out of power in a huge display of Japanese voter confidence and turnout.

The U.S. seems to have no idea what the government will do, since we have only had a relationship with the ruling party for so long.  Time will only tell.

Living here, we see the incredible influence of Americanization every day, which is partly why it is so easy to live here although the more traditional Japanese culture and language seem so different and difficult to reconcile with our own.

We also see the importance of the relationship between Japan and the U.S. for many reasons.  Our economies support each other much more than they pull each other down (the latter being the focus of the DPJ platform in their victory).  It’s likely that you or someone in your family owns a Japanese car (Toyota, Honda, Subaru), a Japanese TV (Sony, Panasonic), and many other products that come from this island nation a world away from the American Midwest.  Japan also supports our efforts with Afghanistan, China, and crucially, North Korea.  Rather than the U.S. coming out first to condemn the North Korean governments nuclear provocations, Japan stepped into the role, taking heat from North Korea, but also taking some of the pressure off of us in the U.S.

Japan is indeed a good friend of the U.S. and I fervently hope the new party with continue this strong tradition while it seeks to refresh Japan’s economic and political life after so many years of quiet scandal and stagnation.

Penry in Japan!

Penry in Japan!

We took this fun photo for Republican Senator Josh Penry, who is running for governor in Colorado right now.  His campaign has gone global!

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