PM Koizumi shocks Japan, calls for elections.
I know this story is more than a day old, but I found it interesting enough to warrant a post.
Japan's Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, has called an early election (he still has two years left in his term). He made the decision after 30 legislators from his Liberal Democratic Party broke ranks and helped defeat his prized postal reform legislation, which would have made Japan's postal system a private sector industry.
Today, the Prime Minister annouced that those legislators who voted agianst the reform would be barred from running as LDP candidates in the coming election. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper quoted Mr. Koizumi as saying "I will crush the old LDP and create a new one. I will not join hands with the old LDP," and the Mainichi Shimbun featured the quote "I will be merciless. I will decide (candidates) depending only on whether they are against or for the plan to privatize the postal system."
ANALYSIS: This could create a bad situation for conservatism in Japan. The Liberal Democratic Party is generally considered to the conservative party in Japanese politics, and it looks like it's going to splinter. The LDP members who voted against postal reform will probably form a second conservative party, splitting the vote. This could potentially set up a situation where the opposition Democratic Party, which is socialist in ideology, could take over the Government. On the bright side, Koizumi's approval rating shot up five points to 47.3% in the latest Kyodo News poll, so he could come out of this stronger than ever.
The LDP is not a member of the International Democrat Union, so I will have to do some research to see just how "conservative" it is (or is not). I cannot say right now which side I would support in the event of an LDP split, because I am not particularly familiar with Japanese politics. I will probably post more as the election nears, it has been scheduled for Sep. 11, 2005.
Prime Minister Koizumi with President Bush