Lower House elections are taking place tomorrow (or today, by the time you read this), and the polls seem to indicate that the long-serving Liberal Democratic Party is about to be thrown out of office on a wide scale, with the Democratic Party of Japan taking hold.
Japanese political party names do not, er, correspond to American ones. The Liberal Democratic Party is a substantially right-wing, conservative entity that has steered Japan since 1955you know, when Japan went from being a backwater, post-war slumlot to a major economic powerhouse with a substantially high level of living. The Democratic Party of Japan, by contrast, is a liberal party. Very liberal. How much? See if your blood gets chilled by this recipe:
Before Japan enters an age of fewer children and an aging population in the early 21st century, we must overthrow the ancien régime locked in old thinking and vested interests, solve the problems at hand, and create a new, flexible, affluent society which values people's individuality and vitality....First of all, we shall build a society governed with transparent, just, and fair rules. Secondly, while the free market should permeate economic life, we aim for an inclusive society which guarantees security, safety, and fair and equal opportunity for each individual. Thirdly, we shall devolve the centralized government powers to citizens, markets, and to local governments, and build a decentralized society in which people of all backgrounds participate.
Let us recount the many elements of Progressivism. An emphasis on youth development. A break from the old ways and their foggy, outdated thinking. The urgent need to reform society to something bigger, better, and greater. Emphasis on individualism, but not personal freedom. A pledge for transparency and equity. Total inclusion of all people as economic equals, regardless of what they put into the system. A guarantee of safety, security, and opportunity in this dangerous time. Reduce powers to citizens, markets, and local governments. A decentralized society that makes all people equal by force.
Sound familiar? Let us hope that Japanese voters are better versed on world history than Americans were last fall.