New Leader Hails Japanese 'Revolution'

Yukio Hatoyama gets to work after historic opposition victory
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2009 4:28 AM CDT
Yukio Hatoyama attaches red rosettes to victorious candidates' names during the ballot counting for the parliamentary elections at the DPJ election center in Tokyo yesterday.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
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(Newser) – Japan's incoming prime minister hailed a democratic "revolution" as more complete results confirmed a sweeping victory for the center-left Democratic Party. Yukio Hatoyama will lead a bloc of more than 300 parliamentary members, more than three times its previous representation, after what the Times of London calls the most decisive election result in Japanese history. Hatoyama, who should become prime minister in about two weeks, has promised less bureaucracy, greater welfare spending, and a more independent relationship with the US.

The once unbeatable Liberal Democratic Party has been reduced to a shadow of its former self, with several senior leaders losing their seats—including Shoichi Nakagawa, the finance minister disgraced by a YouTube video of a drunken press conference. The tidal wave election has brought in more young politicians, women, and trade unionists than ever before, many of whom have little experience. "It's taken a long time but we have at last reached the starting line," said Hatoyama.