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AFP reports that Japan is out of the worldwide recession by virtue of a 0.9% growth in GDP in the 2nd Quarter of 2009 (April-June). Although the number looks slim, it is viewed as a ray of hope considering that the previous saw negative growth above 3%, making it a 3.7% growth, if annualized. This development may raise the question: If Japan’s economy experiences a more significant upward trend by the end of the month, will this play a significant role in the upcoming Aug. 30 elections? Surely the LDP will attempt to spin this as reflective of their responsible stewardship of the reigns of governance, but it be too little too late? Will the voters buy it? Will this ray of economic hope become a ray of political hope for the LDP?
Recently more and more attention has been paid to Japanese elections, since PM Aso announced the dissolution of the Diet and called for a snap election to take place on August 30. Many are considering this the first time the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has a real chance to unseat the hitherto ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
For those who are curious about how campaigns are done in Japan, POV ran a fantastic documentary about a year ago on a–essentially a political nobody, (but an LDP-backed nobody)–candidate for a suburban city council seat. Well worth the time. Things haven’t changed all that much, I suspect. With the exception of the unquestioned LDP dominance, but the jury is still out on that one until Aug. 30.
Watch the full documentary, called simply Campaign, on the PBS website.