This is the 15th general election I have witnessed since coming to live in Japan in 1967, and by any standards it is the most crucial one of those for this country.

Only once before have I regarded an upcoming general election in the same way, and that was in 2009. On that occasion, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which had had a virtual monopoly in government for more than half a century, was ousted by the seemingly more progressive Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

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