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Vol 5 (AAC) No 3

Published 1st January 2012

Aggressive passivity

The government is tied in knots, but that has not stopped the armed forces from taking a more active role in international peacekeeping missions

Japan’s cycle of political instability and the long recovery from the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear crisis signal another year of inward focus for the governing elite. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda took office in September as the sixth premier in five years but the opposition Liberal Democratic Party controls the House of Councillors, which allows it to block all legislation that does not have a two-thirds majority in the lower house. The LDP is now seeking early general elections ahead of the 2013 deadline, while Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan is betting its political capital on a bill to double the sales tax by 2015 to meet the country’s bulging social-welfare needs.

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