Period of Political Transition
Significance of Elections Due This Month
Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, scarred by scandal and weakened by last December's elections, faces another test at the polls July 10. At stake are half of the seats in the 252-member House of Councillors, the upper house of parliament—the Diet—where the Liberal Democrats hold a bare majority.1 The party, a collection of moderate conservative factions, has controlled Japanese politics uninterruptedly since 1955 but has been losing support for several years. It failed to win a working majority last December in the House of Representatives, the lower and more powerful house. That forced the resignation of Prime Minister Takeo Miki, and only the support of 11 conservative independents enabled a longtime leader in the party, Takeo ...