Until the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)’s win in Sunday’s election, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had dominated Japanese politics for more than half a century except for short intervals.

The impact on the U.S.-Japan alliance is still not clear. It is hard to divine it from the abstract words of the DPJ’s “manifesto” for the election campaign: “In order to build a close and equal U.S.-Japan alliance, Japan will fulfill her responsibilities by sharing them with the United States, based upon an autonomous Japanese diplomatic strategy.”

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