Saturday, June 5, 2010

Japan's Democratic Party Implosion

In case you haven't heard, the Prime Minister who came in on a landslide victory just stepped down.

Yukio Hatoyama announced his resignation a few days ago after significant pressure to bow out (literally) only 8 months after coming to power and ending almost 60 years of consecutive LDP reign. The straw that broke the camel's back, apparently, was Hatoyama's inability to live up to an election promise and get rid of the American military presence in the Okinawa prefecture.

His replacement will be Naoto Kan, former Finance Minister, and a much different man than Hatoyama. While the latter is part of a political and business dynasty, Kan grew up without such a family history or privilege. Some consider him populist and "different," which they hope will work well with Japan's voters.

But Kan has a big, big challenge ahead of him in turning around his government's fortunes, highlighted by this recent and damning poll on views of the Japanese cabinet. Whether he turns it around is something we'll have to wait and see.

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