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With the yearend summaries behind us and the stockpile of New Years’ TV variety specials exhausted, the media turns its attention to the business of looking at Japan’s future. It’s an annual ritual that rarely results in anything edifying, but 2008 may turn out to be a watershed year.

The U.S. presidential election has the potential of offering genuine change after eight years of George W. Bush, and Japan will probably have its own general election fairly soon. With the likelihood of some kind of grand coalition growing daily, the Japanese election could also mean big changes.

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