An extraordinary political event has taken place in Japan: the nation’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has lost the status of the ‘ruling party’ for the first time in post-WWII history. This is something that one could not even imagine only a couple of years ago.
It became clear after the Democratic Party, which was previously in an opposition to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), won the parliamentary elections on August 30.
Japanese Democrats with 62-year-old Yukio Hatoyama at the head received 308 of 480 seats in the lower house of the Japanese parliament. This is a historical event too, since no other party has ever won the right to take more than 300 seats in the parliament of Japan. Therefore, Hatoyama will become the new prime minister of one of the most developed countries in the world.
The LDP obtained only 119 seats although it previously had 300. The party’s leader, the nation’s acting Prime Minister Taro Aso (68), accepted his political defeat and claimed responsibility for such an outcome of the elections for his party.
"As head of the party, I feel strong responsibility and it is my intention to resign," Aso told a news conference Monday. His successor as party leader is expected to be named in late September, The Associated Press said.
"It has taken a long time, but we have at last reached the starting line. This is by no means the destination. At long last, we are able to move politics – to create a new kind of politics that will fulfill the expectations of the people,” Hatoyama told reporters at his home in Tokyo.
The would-be Prime Minister of Japan represents a famous clan of Japanese politicians. His grandfather, Itiro Hatoyama, served the nation’s PM in the middle of the 1950s. It was Itiro Hatoyama, who signed a declaration with the USSR to resume relations between the countries. Japanese politicians use this document in their attempts to challenge Russia’s ownership of four Kurile Islands.
Yukio Hatoyama has already stated that he would be ready to develop cooperation with Russia too.
“Like my grandfather, I would like to take efforts in the solution of such issues as the territorial dispute with Russia. There is a huge potential for cooperation between Russia and Japan. I believe that the national interests of the two states will be damaged if we do not use this factor,” Hatoyama said.
Viktor Pavlyatenko, a senior spokesman for the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that the majority of the Japanese were fed up with Liberal Democrats and wanted to see new faces in the parliament.
“As for the relations with Russia, one should not expect principle changes in Japan’s stance regarding the Kurile Islands dispute. Hatoyama was one of those who personally signed the notorious statement on June 11 of this year, in which the islands were declared as Japan’s native territory. Therefore, nothing will change in the Japanese-Russian relations after the change of power in Japan.
Also read: Calling Russia an oppupier unacceptable, Moscow tells Japan