Table: Japan: Politics as Usual?

SCENARIO ONE: The Opposition Wins

Japan's DPJ, aided by the Socialists, takes the upper house and wins snap national election

RESULT: Japan's first non-LDP government since 1993

ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS: A chance to end ruinous pork-barrel politics, but the DPJ's hold on power may be tenuous

SCENARIO TWO: Reform from the LDP

A serious split in the party gives the upper hand to fiscal hard-liners, such as Ryutaro Hashimoto, who rely on urban voters

RESULT: An activist LDP government

ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS: Bank restructuring and an emergency effort to rein in spending

SCENARIO THREE: Political Paralysis

The LDP's old guard triumphs and keeps its hold on rural vote and political pork

RESULT: A weak new Prime Minister guided by political insiders

ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS: A big push for soft money, just enough reform to muddle through

Data: BusinessWeek

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