C072410_The_‘Wandering_Chenwei_Lin

C072410_The_‘Wandering_Chenwei_Lin -...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
COMMENTARY July 24, 2010 vol xlv no 30 EPW Economic & Political Weekly 24 Chenwei Lin ( [email protected] ) teaches at the Hokkaido University Public Policy School in Japan. The ‘Wandering Aircraft Carrier’ Japan: Difficulties of Regime Shift Chenwei Lin A blundering Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned last month as he was unable to live up to the promises made during the 2009 parliamentary elections – particularly the removal of the United States military base in Okinawa. Trial and error perhaps best describes the past nine months of the Democratic Party of Japan’s performance in government, even as the country cries out for a newer political environment. J apan was once described by the American cold war strategist George Kennan, as the “stationary aircraft carrier” posed off the Soviet “far east”. The strong US security presence in the Japanese archipelago after the second world war ( WW) might have begun with the intention to ensure that Japan would never again become a source of instability in the region. But it is this unique geostrategic position of Japan and furthermore the success of its post-second world war democracy and eco- nomic prosperity that drove the US to build a lasting and robust alliance with the Japanese government, which was led by the Liberal Democratic Party ( LDP ) for half a century. This US -Japan security cooperation pre- vailed in spite of the end of the cold war, and successfully repositioned itself as the cornerstone of stability in the Asia-Pacific as well as a global partnership. In short, “aircraft carrier” Japan was not only “sta- tionary”, it was, for the most part, an excel- lent partner too. This changed somehow on 30 August 2009. The geographic posi- tion of Japan obviously remained station- ary but with the Democratic Party of Japan ( DPJ ) taking over the government, the first change of ruling party in 50-some years, Japan’s political, economic and strategic direction seems to have wandered off. The DPJ came to power with a landslide victory by obtaining 308 seats, a dominant majority of the 480 seats in the Parliament’s lower house. The voter turnout reached 70%, compared to 68% in the previous gen- eral election. The mandate for the DPJ to overhaul the colossal trouble-ridden Japa- nese government of a chronic fiscal deficit and zero-growth economy was overwhelm- ing. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama-led cabinet kicked off with an excellent approval rating of over 70%. But the fervour ended quickly. His approval rating steadily declined to 21% and after 262 days in office, Hatoya- ma suddenly announced his resignation along with that of the charismatic secretary- general of DPJ , Ichiro Ozawa, on 4 June 2010, the fifth short-lived cabinet in post- second world war Japan.
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern