Yes they can, but what will they do?

Change is coming to JapanDPJ

Or at least it’s very likely. The Financial Times has a poll projecting a landslide for Japan’s opposition Democratic Party. The DPJ is expected to win 321 of the Diet’s 480 seats. So a party that has never been in power is close to having an overwhelming majority. So what exactly does this the prospect of a new ruling party mean for foreign policy?

Before we continue, I have to add this necessary caveat: these prognostications are really staps in the dark since the DPJ has never been in power and we really don’t know what they will do. Remember the AK was going to turn Turkey into Iran and the BJP was going to start a nuclear war with Pakistan. Power tempers ideology and dampens idealism.

The biggest takeaway is the DPJ is more interested in Asian regionalism than the US-Japan relationship. Yukio Hatoyama, the man most likely to become Prime Minister, has predicted the end of American unilateralism and presented the European Union as a positive role model for regionalism. However, the Japanese-American relationship is so strong that America will continue to be a major player in Japanese foreign policy. At the same time Japan may become a key ally on climate change since the DPJ is much stronger on environmental issues.

Picture courtesy of the Economist

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