Japan will hold its general election on Sunday. Because of the political dilemma faced by the governing Democratic Party of Japan, this election may cause another change of government. A new coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party at its core is likely.
The leadership of Japan changes too fast. If the government topples, then by the beginning of 2013, Japan will have had 18 prime ministers in 25 years. Apart from Junichiro Koizumi and Ryutaro Hashimoto, most of these prime ministers were only in power for about a year.
Turbulence in Japanese politics has not led to dysfunction of the state machinery. Therefore, the political turbulence is not the most noteworthy point in this election. Instead, we should notice that under pressure from the right-wing forces and conservative parties, deliberately guided by the mainstream media, the illusion has unfolded that Japan can now achieve its dream of being an assertive power.
Among those running in the election, Japan's so-called "third force," which gathered together the Restoration Party, Your Party and the Sun Party, is the most noteworthy force.
It is the first time of that such kind of force has appeared in Japan's political circles since the implementation of the post-war Peace Constitution. This third force may change the future direction of Japan's politics.
Political heavyweights in this coalition have stated that Japan should abandon the pacifist clauses of the constitution, build atomic bombs and use warships to deal with the islands disputes.
These extreme arguments shocked people. Some wonder whether Japan will stick to its road of peaceful development. If right-wing forces come to power, will Japan revolutionize the political arrangements made by the anti-fascist alliance of World War II? Will it break the balance of the political situation in East Asia? Will it seriously damage regional stability and peaceful development?
Obviously, these questions should be answered by Japan's voters. Many Japanese voters are forgetting history. An increasing number of people advocate amending the constitution. Present-day Japan is at a crossroads. Political groups and elites with conscience sincerely hope that Japan can continue its peaceful, harmonious and symbiotic road of development. However, others choose to be political spokesmen for right-wing forces because of their narrow-minded prejudices.
The results will come in four days. The change of Japan's political situation will inevitably have an impact on its future development. We sincerely hope that Japanese people can make sensible political choices.
The author is researcher of Institute of Japanese Studies under Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. firstname.lastname@example.org