Japan History: From the Post-War Period to The Difficult Political-Economic Situation
Japanese history since the Second World War is divided into quite distinct phases. The first closed three years after the signing of the peace treaty in San Francisco (1951) and the Japanese-American Security Treaty signed in Tōkyō in the same year. This period, identified internally with the mandate of Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru (1946-54), was characterized by the acceptance of the US occupation, by the foundation of the new institutional structure (1947) of democratic inspiration, by the formation of new balances parties and the beginning of economic reconstruction. The government of Hatoyama Ichirō (1954-56) instead constituted the second phase: definitive affirmation of the political dominance of the conservatives, provisional reunification of the two socialist parties, improvement of relations with the USSR. This was followed by the phase identified with the presidency of Kishi Nobusuke (1957-60), in which the pro-American character of Japanese politics was strengthened. At the international level, in this period the mutual defense treaty was modified, in a less unfavorable sense for Japan, and the difficult dialogue with the countries of Southeast Asia where the memory of the Japanese occupation was still alive was started. The successive governments of Ikeda Hayato (1960-64) and of Satō Eisaku (1964-72) represented, on the other hand, the phase of the economic miracle, during which Japan established itself in a very short span of years as the third world economic power. In 1972, with the coming to power of Tanaka Kakuei, of the Liberal Democratic Party, the country finally faced and resolved the problem of diplomatic relations with Beijing. After the resignation of Tanaka (1974), due to suspicions of wrongdoing that invested his party, Japan saw several prime ministers alternate in government, who abruptly resigned, such as the liberal-democrat Takeo Fukuda. In 1982, the new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, Yasuhiro Nakasone, was appointed prime minister, which with a more lasting government (1982-87) initiated a policy of administrative reforms, aimed in particular at the reorganization of state-controlled enterprises, such as telecommunications and railways, and of the tax system in order to bring the the budget has been in deficit for a long time. The political stability achieved in the 1980s with the government of Nakasone, a few months after the death of Emperor Hirohito (January 1989) and the accession to the throne of his son Akihito, however, was again mined. Designated to the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party and to the leadership of the Noburo Takeshita government, he assumed both positions in November 1987, with the intention of following the lines of internal and foreign policy already drawn by his predecessor. However, his government was soon embroiled in a financial scandal in June 1988, which prompted his resignation early the following year. Visit behealthybytomorrow.com for Asia early history.
Japan thus embarked on a second period of political instability which saw its successive governments still involved in various scandals. In 1993, the elections for the House of Representatives, while not marking a new drastic defeat for the Liberal Democratic Party, saw the entry into the Diet of new political formations and the decisive affirmation of the New Party of Japan, led by Morihiro Hosokawa. Thus, for the first time in 38 years, a premier who did not belong to the Liberal Democratic Party was appointed. Formed a coalition government with a careful distribution of offices among the parties that supported him, Hosokawa launched a series of reforms, first of all the electoral one, in an attempt to favor large political formations and simplify the fragmented political framework of the country. The reform of the electoral system, approved in January 1994, without the support of the government coalition, provided for the reduction of the members of the House of Representatives from 511 to 500, the adoption of the proportional system for the election of 40% of deputies and the redefinition of constituencies, in order to reduce the incidence of voting in the traditionally more conservative rural areas. In April 1994, however, the difficulties of agreement within the ruling coalition and the involvement of the premier himself in past financial scandals, led Hosokawa to resign. After the brief interlude of a government led by the Social Democrat Tomiichi Murayama, Japan, gripped by a series of problems ranging from the earthquake in the Kobe region to the terrorist attacks of the Supreme Truth Buddhist sect, saw the return of the Liberal Democrats to power. The 2002 legislative elections were won by a coalition still formed by the Liberal Democrats, led by Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of the coalition itself, from the Buddhist party Komeito and from the conservatives. The new legislative elections of November 2003 still saw the victory of the ruling coalition, which however lost seats in the Chamber, while the opposition Democratic Party was strengthened.
In August 2005 the government fell after being defeated on the proposed privatization of the post office, but in the September elections, conducted precisely on the privatization campaign wanted by Prime Minister Koizumi, the Liberal Democratic party obtained 296 seats against 113 of the opposition, confirming the success of the ruling coalition. In September, the Diet reconfirmed Koizumi as head of the government. In September 2006 Koizumi retired and was elected premier in his place the Liberal Democratic party obtained 296 seats against 113 for the opposition, confirming the success of the ruling coalition. In September, the Diet reconfirmed Koizumi as head of the government. In September 2006 Koizumi retired and was elected premier in his place Shinzō Abe, designated by the Liberal Democratic Party, whose program included improving relations with China and continuing the structural reforms initiated by Koizumi. The new prime minister gave politics a nationalist approach and in this sense a Ministry of Defense was established for the first time since the war. In July 2007, Prime Minister Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) was defeated in the elections for the partial renewal of the House of Councilors; in September the premier Abe resigned and Yasuo Fukada was appointed in his place, who resigned in August 2008 due to a series of objections to his policy, especially the economic one. Later the parliament elected Taro Aso, leader of the PLD, as prime minister. In July 2009, after his party’s electoral defeat in the Tōkyō municipal elections, the premier dissolved the lower house of parliament pending early elections. The latter took place in August and saw the victory of the Democrats (PDG) with 308 seats, ending 54 years of rule by the PLD (119 seats). Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the PDG, was appointed head of the government, but after the failure of the amendment to the agreement between the United States and Japan for the relocation of the military base in Futenma, Hatoyama resigned (June 2010) and Democrat leader Naoto Kan was appointed in his place. A month later the elections for the renewal of the upper house were held, won by the opposition party (PLD), creating political stalemate in the country. In March 2011 an earthquake of magnitude 9.0, with its epicenter 150 km from the north-east coast, caused a tsunami, with waves up to ten meters high, which mainly hit Miyagi prefecture, destroying entire population centers and causing thousands of deaths. The earthquake damaged the cooling system of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, causing the reactor temperature to rise; this forced the government to evacuate the area, which was hit by a level of radioactivity above the norm. In August 2011, Yoshito Noda was elected secretary of the Democratic Party and the country’s new premier. In December 2012, former premier Shinzō Abe won the political elections, defeating outgoing premier Noda. Abe also won the July 2013 elections.