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Far Right Rises In Japan

Shintaro Ishihara

Shintaro Ishihara

Saturday elections in Japan that saw the country’s conservative party return to power also saw a newly-formed, far-right party also make a significant showing, putting it into parliament for the first time with a sizable number seats.

The Japan Restoration Party, formed only last November, won 54 parliamentary seats in Saturday’s vote. The party is led by unrepentant nationalist Shintaro Ishihara, the former governor of Tokyo, who has said he intends to restore the nation’s dented pride.

He has already suggested there is a need for Japan to arm itself with nuclear weapons, expand the military and revise the pacifist constitution.

Ishihara triggered the ongoing tensions between Japan and China over the East China Sea Islands last April, when he announced he would buy them from their private owners and administer them as part of Tokyo.

The conservative LPD, which has run Japan for most of the post-war era until 2009, scored between 275 and 300 seats in the 480-seat lower house of parliament. Its ally, the Buhddist-backed Komeito Party, also scored 31 seats, giving the coalition a “super majority” that could overrule parliament’s upper house.

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