Is Japan finally moving toward a two-party political system? That's one conclusion from the surprising showing of theopposition Democratic Party of Japan in the general election on Nov. 9. Although Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party remained in power, they face a feistier opposition, which now controls about 37% of the seats in the Lower House of the Diet. The party, led by Naoto Kan, did far better than the LDP in urban centers, where voters are hungry for reform. Now, Kan will exploit any dissembling by Koizumi when it comes to fixing Japan's sick banks and the country's monster budget deficits. Kan's party also opposes sending Japanese peacekeepers to Iraq. Count on him to keep the pressure on Koizumi.
Edited by Rose Brady