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Henry Kissinger once famously remarked that a great power does not retreat forever. This is a particularly apt comment on China’s and South Korea’s contributions to the outcome of last weekend’s elections in Japan.

The domestic causes and consequences of the massive swing back to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as the natural party of government are of concern primarily for the people of Japan. The greater international interest in the weekend’s elections lies in the extent to which policies of the leaders in Beijing and Seoul might be one, albeit still a major one, among several explanations for the outcomes, and what the outcome might portend for the region in general, and for China and South Korea in particular.

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