Japanese election with a difference

Japan's National Diet building. Photo Credit: Flickr/chaojikazu

By Jens Wardenaer, Research Analyst and Editorial Assistant

Japan is facing another general election in December, after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the Lower House of the Diet last week. Noda – Japan’s sixth premier in as many years – announced his intention to go to the polls during a parliamentary debate, saying: ‘Let’s do it’.

The main campaign issues will be tax and nuclear power. The emergence of a nationalist ‘third force’ involving Shintaro Ishihara, the nationalist former governor of Tokyo is also making this election one to watch. Ishihara triggered the current flare-up with China, and is now helping to challenge the dominance of Japan’s two main groupings: Noda’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which is currently in opposition.

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India and Japan strengthen ties

By Suvi Dogra, Research & Liaison Officer, Geo-economics and Strategy Programme.

India and Japan stepped up their defence cooperation this week, saying on Monday that they would conduct their first joint naval exercise in June. This will be part of a new maritime dialogue mechanism announced by Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna and his Japanese counterpart, Koichiro Gemba, after wide-ranging strategic and economic talks. The two ministers also announced a new cyber-security dialogue and the resumption of negotiations over a proposed civil-nuclear deal. Begun in June 2010, these fell into abeyance in the post-Fukushima period.

Meanwhile, India agreed to give the Japanese government a 26% stake in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation. The move is an attempt to accelerate a much-delayed new rail freight link between India’s capital and its largest city, while also cementing a long-term economic partnership between India and Japan.

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