Alexander Konkov – Rethinking Russia director
Following the results of the general election that took place in Japan October 22, the ruling coalition of Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and centrist New Komeito Party won more than two-thirds of 465 seats in Parliament’s lower chamber. This is shown by the official data published on Monday by country’s Central Electoral Commission.
The vote count was stalled because of the typhoon Lan that hit Japan last weekend. In total, the LDP won 284 seats and its junior partner – New Komeito Party – 29 seats. All together the ruling coalition got 313 seats in Parliament’s lower chamber. This provides it with control over all commissions and gives an opportunity to adopt laws without a hitch and even raise question of constitutional revision.
In Japan Parliament’s lower chamber has primacy over the higher one when the head of the government is elected or the state budget is approved.
The Constitutional Democratic Party, criticizing government from the left-wing liberal pacifist perspective, came second. But it got only 55 mandates. The Conservative Party of Hope led by the governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike moved into third place. Contrary to all predictions, it did not perform well and got only 49 seats.
According to Rethinking Russia Director Alexander Konkov, Japan has demonstrated that Western political trends are not always relevant to Asian countries:
Japan has shown that it is able to act and develop in the same vein that 70 years before. Despite the emergence of fresh faces and new political forces in the bulletins, Japanese people preferred to follow their crusted habit and to vote for the Liberal Democratic Party that has been a governing one in Japan for many years almost in a row.
At this election populist strategies were tested; new populist political forces may become a political actor in Japan and keep this role. But the fact is that Shinzo Abe, who initiated early parliamentary election, won due to the right tactics for consolidating his grip and extending influence over Japan’s political life.
The result of this election can be perceived as a positive one by Russia since it has been Abe who has strongly supported development of bilateral Russian-Japanese relations. In spite of the fact that Japan joined in sanctions against Russia, Tokyo still demonstrates its willingness to make decisions and act proceeding from its own national interests and aspiration for developing relations with Russia and for finding new opportunities for improving these relations.
Of course we understand that one of the reasons for that is Japan’s eagerness to conclude a peace treaty with Russia and put an end to the territorial disputes. But due to the recent improvement of relations between two states Russia also managed to find profitable directions of their development. And the re-election of Abe’s party holds out hope of further realization of the projects planned.
Besides, Russia and Japan have prospects as regards parliamentary cooperation that is at the moment not so active. But the election that took place in Japan may push the countries toward developing constructive Russian-Japanese parliamentary dialogue, that they both will be interested in.