Japan’s victorious DPJ, minor parties to form coalition government

Tokyo, Aug 31 (DPA) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Yukio Hatoyama was expected to hold talks Monday with leaders of several minor opposition parties on forming a new coalition government.

The DPJ secured a comfortable majority of 308 of the 480 seats in the House of Representatives election Sunday, ending more than 50 years of nearly uninterrupted rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

“The voters chose to see a change in the government after a long reign of the LDP,” the Yomiuri Shimbun quoted the 62-year-old Hatoyama, who was very likely to become Japan’s next prime minister in the election set for mid-September, as saying.

“We would not be too proud to modestly run the government regardless of the number of seats we won,” he added.

The ruling party led by Prime Minister Taro Aso suffered a historic defeat, in which it secured a record low number of seats with many veteran lawmakers losing in their constituencies.

“It was a reprimand from the voters for our (LDP) failure to live up to their expectations,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said at a press conference Monday.

The Japanese people expressed their dissatisfaction with the LDP in their votes Sunday as the party was blamed for widening the income gap, devastated pension programmes and a series of corruption scandals.

The long-ruling party was blamed for the worst recession in post-war Japan, as anxiety weighed heavy on the public.

The incoming DPJ promised the voters it would revitalise the world’s second-largest economy by cutting wasteful spending and increasing household incomes to encourage spending.

The party also vowed to raise monthly child allowances, and to scrap both expressway tolls and gasoline taxes as part of its plan to stimulate consumer spending. But it has been criticised for remaining vague as to how to finance its costly economic and social measures.

The Tokyo stock market reacted positively Monday to the change in power, with both indices rising to their intraday high this year. But investors sold shares due to a stronger yen before the end of morning trading.