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DPJ Wins Big

Monday, July 30, 2007 Posted: 02:30 AM JST

Not all the results are in, but the DPJ has clearly won big in Sunday's elections for the Upper House. As of 2:00 AM Monday morning the LDP has 37 seats. It used to have 64 in the half of the Upper House that was up for election. The DPJ has 60 seats, up from 32. These numbers may still change over the next few hours, but it looks like this will be the second worst defeat in the Upper House that the LDP has experienced in its 52 year history.

In spite of the huge loss, Prime Minister Abe said last night that he will not step down. "My policies," he said in a TV interview, "are not mistaken, so there is no reason to flee."

The big surprise was Ozawa's absence at the DPJ headquarters. Explanations were far from sufficient. He was tired and had been told by his doctor to rest. He also had a cold, the assembled press was told. Naoto Kan, who gave the press meeting instead of Ozawa, did not even relay a comment from Ozawa. Was Ozawa's condition so bad that he was unable to pass on a message, we wondered. Ozawa had an operation for a heart condition about 15 years ago. Did his heart condition act up? The DPJ vowed to now fight for a change in government. If the party manages to win, will Ozawa be healthy enough to lead Japan as prime minister?

Before we even get that far, Sunday's results promise to create a lot of political confusion over the next few months with probable gridlock, because of the LDP majority in the Lower House and the opposition's new majority in the Upper House.

Keywords: national_news political_news

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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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