Japan Dissolves Parliament, Sets New Election on Dec 16

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By Erik Pineda | November 16, 2012 7:28 PM EST

The revolving door spins anew as Japan will once again search for a new prime minister following the dissolution of the Diet's (the Japanese parliament) lower house on Friday.

The move was announced Wednesday by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, pledging that elections will be held Dec 16, which analyst said will likely pave the way for a new government that is not controlled by Mr Noda's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

Japan's upcoming new leader will be the seventh the country will have in six years, underscoring a tumultuous political landscape for one of the world's biggest economies, which analysts said was party to blame for the series of recessions that have been hobbling its economy.

Highlighting its gradual decline is Japan's recent slide as number two to the United States, with China replacing it as the second- largest economy in the world. Apart from its vaunted export machinery, China also enjoys one major advantage over Japan - it has a carefully orchestrated leadership transition process that economists concede is crucial for economic and political stability.

Unfortunately, Japan has been grappling to find that luxury for the longest time, but there was a faint hope that Mr Noda's party would deliver when it came into power in 2009. That too disappeared as political wrangling proved too much even for the popular DPJ.

Faced with stubborn politicking, DPJ's thrust for reforms were easily neutralised, and Mr Noda had to accept the bitter pill of stepping down just so to push forward his programmes, chief of which were to reduce Japan's public debt and to gear its economy for a turnaround.

Japan has had four recessions in the past 12 years and to break that cycle, Japanese citizens will once again go to the polls.

And the likelihood of the DPJ retaining power is bleak, analysts said, with one Diet member telling Reuters that "the main issue will be whether we should get rid of the incompetent DPJ and bring experienced people back."

Better yet, the Reuters source added, "we should have a stronger more intelligent leader."

In such propositions, the name of Toru Hashimoto is readily mentioned. Reuters said Mr Hashimoto has been making waves as mayor of Osaka, but he is not a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

The LDP is touted to make a return after a long hiatus and set to lead the new government in Tokyo is Shinzo Abe, himself a former prime minister.

But the LDP gaining power again means not much will change with Japan, analysts said, as the political party is only expected to preside over a government or governments that lack broad-base power, and, therefore, the backbone to implement economic reforms, especially the painful but necessary corrective measures.

The only sure thing for Japan at the moment is having a semblance of governance led by the old guards in the LDP.

"We must achieve victory. That is our mission for the people and with that in mind, I resolve to fight this historic battle," Mr Abe was reported by Reuters as saying in his address to party caucus, apparently showcasing his resolve to claim for LDP its old glory.

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