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Japan’s “Revolving Door”: Hello, Mr…whoever!

“You say ‘good morning’ to one Prime Minister and ‘good afternoon’ to a different one!” (Luis Inacio Lula da Silva 2010)

 “it seems to be the era of karaoke politics in Japan, where in quick succession different members of the ruling elite take turns to step up to the microphone and lead the country. […] In and out they go, like they are in a perpetually revolving door” (BBC News 2008).

Yukio Hatoyama took his office in September 2009, however, he lasted only 9 months in the end. All we remember about him is probably his wife who has been to Venus on UFO and eats the sun every day…

Naoto Kan took over from 8th June 2010, however, upcoming event is the party’s presidential election on 14th September, and Ichiro Ozawa, a former secretary general of the Democratic Party will run against Kan.

It is obviously extremely short for Prime Ministers to stay in power for one year or even less compared to other countries. On average, both American Presidents and UK Prime Ministers stay in office for about 5 years although Italy shared the similar experience like Japan until Berlusconi took his office. There must be several reasons for this current trend such as constitutional loophole to allow snap election almost anytime, however, the media seems to be playing a large role as well – agitating the public, decreasing the support rate of the ruling party, and chucking the Prime Ministers out to let him “take responsibility for the failure” within a year or so.

It is definitely not the right time to compete for party leadership. Democratic Party of Japan came into power for the first time in 62 years, and they received so much attention from both scholars and public, however, nothing has changed at all. What we have to do is simply remember the name and face of Prime Minister one after another, and the public is totally fed up with this power struggle within the party…

BBC News, “Japan’s Political Revolving Door”, 27 September 2008.

Financial Times, “Another Japan PM Enters the ‘has-beens’ List”, 2 June 2010.

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