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In the December snap election called by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, won 326 of the Diet’s 475 seats, retaining their two-thirds majority in the Diet’s Lower House. It was an extraordinary achievement — one that Japan has not witnessed in decades.

Japan’s opposition parties offered no convincing alternative to the Abe government’s policies. The Democratic Party of Japan, which led the government less than three years ago, was unable even to field enough candidates to contest every seat. Its road back to political relevance appears long and bleak.

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