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Sayonara, change

Japan’s landslide election threw out the ruling party, but was really a conservative revolt

By Kenneth Neil Cukier   October 2009

Japan has long been called a “democracy within a democracy.” Though it held elections, the country had kept the Liberal Democratic party (and its forbearers, the Liberals and the Democrats) in power virtually uninterrupted since the end of the second world war. So the election of 30th August was historic, not just because it is the first time an opposition party has taken control of Japan’s government, but because it represents the beginning of the end of Japan’s postwar political system.

On election night the ruling LDP lost 177 of its 300 seats in the 480-seat lower house of Japan’s…

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