Get out the Vote! Japanese Election Primer

July 28, 2007 at 5:51 pm 1 comment

While we here in the States are technically waiting until 2008 to cast our votes (though you wouldn’t know it from the amount of coverage the possible presidential candidates are already getting!), in Japan, their House of Councilors Election, or Upper House election, is mere days away.

Held every three years, and originally scheduled for July 22, the election was moved back a week to the 29th, a decision that faced some criticism for the short notice that was given.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s ruling LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) and its strongest opposition, the Ichiro Ozawa-led DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan), are difficult for Americans to distinguish at first, because their names sound so similar. Or maybe it’s just me…

The LDP has been in power almost exclusively since 1955, but recent pension plan scandals, and accusations of bribery, have caused trouble.

Check out this poster, below, that condemns bribery:

tadashi.jpg

There is evidence that this year, the DPJ will gain ground; as of July 20, DPJ was leading in the polls.

Japan is ruled by a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy (try saying that three times fast), headed by a Prime Minister. Though sovereignty is in the hands of the people, Japan keeps an Emporer as a powerful symbol of the state. This is similar to Great Britain, whose Royals perform important functions that are practical, diplomatic, and symbolic.

Anyway, much like America’s checks and balances from the Senate and the House of Representatives, Japan has a legislative and an executive branch. Regardless of July 29th’s election, Shinzo Abe’s Lower House will retain a 2/3 majority.

For up-to-the minute news on Japanese politics, check out the reports from Trans-Pacific Radio.

Sarah S.

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Entry filed under: Japanese Business, Japanese Culture, Japanese Politics.

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