Friday, 4 September 2009

Change in Japan

For the first time since the end of WWII, one of the world's largest economies is now an effective two-party system after voters decisively rejected the long-ruling Liberal Democrats in favour of the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan. The Democratic Party did particularly well among urban middle and working class voters who - in the words of the Irish Times earlier this week - were "fed up with the LDP’s traditional support for industrial interests and rural pork-barrelling larded by factionalism and corruption". The Financial Times analysis is particularly telling:

"The certainty of the fast-growth years and the exuberance of the bubbly 1980s have given way to greater introspection and recognition that the state may not always know best. That sense of self-dependency (or abandonment) has been exacerbated by the casualisation of a large part of the workforce. Nearly a third of workers are now part-time or on short-term contracts, a world away from the 1980s when most people felt secure in their jobs. Not only are these workers poorly paid. They are also vulnerable".

You can read the rest of David Pilling's column on the Japanese elections in Wednesday's Financial Times here (registration required).

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