| Mar 16, 2009

LDP is running on empty

Amid the dwindling approval rate of Prime Minister Taro Aso, triggered by a series of gaffes coming out of his own mouth and by disgraceful behavior of his right-hand man in the international arena, the conventional wisdom would call either for him to resign ...

| Feb 11, 2009

Breaking the U.S.-Japan jinx

Prime Minister Taro Aso seems eager to meet the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, as the initial step toward accomplishing something big in the field of diplomacy, and in an effort to put the brakes on the downward spiral of his ...

| Jan 28, 2009

Can Japan afford the DPJ?

With the Aso administration’s approval rating continuing to plunge, there appears to be a growing likelihood that the No. 1 opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, will defeat the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the next general election and take the reins of ...

| Jan 19, 2009

Aso getting the brushoff

As the approval rate for the government of Prime Minister Taro Aso plummets, bureaucrats have begun to distance themselves from him in favor of establishing closer ties with the No. 1 opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which they apparently think has at least a ...

| Dec 23, 2008

DPJ has a foot in the door

As the odds grow that the No. 1 opposition Democratic Party of Japan will take the reigns of government after the next general elections, the focus in the Japanese political arena is shifting to the lineup of a Cabinet headed by DPJ leader Ichiro ...

| Dec 16, 2008

Japan aches for a political rescue

Time appears to be ripe for a complete overhaul of the Japanese political landscape, but it is utterly impossible to predict how political parties will line up after the next general election. When Prime Minister Taro Aso came to power in September, it appeared ...

| Nov 25, 2008

U.S.-China ties weaken alliances

As the United States works harder than ever to strengthen relations with China, there are signs its alliances with Japan and Taiwan are weakening. A conspicuous sign of change in Japan-U.S. ties came early Oct. 12 when President George W. Bush telephoned Prime Minister ...

| Nov 17, 2008

LDP split on when to fight

A serious schism has developed within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Taro Aso between those who demand an early general election and those who favor waiting for the political and economic situation to improve so that the party has a better ...

| Oct 28, 2008

DPJ leadership after Ozawa

At an extraordinary convention of the Democratic Party of Japan in Tokyo on Sept. 21, DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa surprised party members by declaring that the upcoming Lower House election will be his last opportunity to lead a nationwide political campaign. Saying he is ...

| Oct 20, 2008

Aso's curtailed prospects

Although Taro Aso won a landslide victory in the presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Sept. 22 and was elected prime minister two days later, his administration could conceivably become the shortest in history, shorter even than the record 54 days ...

| Sep 26, 2008

Japan's mature spectators

Has democracy matured in Japan? Scholar-turned-politician Yoichi Masuzoe used to say Japan is a mature democratic nation, as its politics is led by public opinion. Recently, however, he seems to have reversed his way of thinking, as he states that Japanese citizens have become ...