All Quiet on Japan’s Election Front
Elections have recently become a destabilizing force around the world from Washington to London, Paris, Berlin and now Tokyo as Japan braces for a historic test of its democratic institution later this month.
On September 28, the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the Diet, paving the way for a snap election on October 22. As in Western capitals, Tokyo’s upcoming general election will face familiar challenges ranging from anti-establishment populism at home to looming geopolitical crises in their vicinities. Despite such similar circumstances, Japan’s emerging political landscape points to a paradoxical climax: a more confident and extroverted country with greater commitment to international affairs regardless of the election outcome.
In fact, Japan stands to remain largely unaffected by the same divisive forces swaying the recent Western elections. Fringe groups on both extremes of political spectrum are certainly not an exception in Japan, but they remain perennially marginalized with virtually no impact on election outcomes. Moreover, fake news, disinformation, and online spooks hardly dominate news headlines, and mainstream journalism is still alive and well.