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Regarding the Dec. 14 article “Abe tightens grip on power as ruling coalition wins 325 seats in Lower House election“: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the main and possibly only beneficiary of this exercise in expensive futility. He can spend Christmas and New Year’s knowing that he has already spent his pricey o-toshidama (New Year’s gift) on himself and his election in order to control the public purse for years to come.

There was no choice in this “democratic” process, because a squabbling opposition had nothing left to offer, and an apathetic populace nothing more to hope for. Giving the Japanese people no choice is how the Liberal Democratic Party entrenches itself, with only token gestures of service to the public. The LDP didn’t win by default — but rather by its own design. It’s been more than half a century in the making.

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