As expected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe easily won Sunday's snap elections to choose the 475 representatives in Japan's lower house of parliament. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won 290 seats and his junior coalition partner Komeito won 35 seats giving them a two-thirds majority. The turnout was a record low (52%) which Abe called ‘extremely regrettable’. Many Japanese wondered why he had called elections when he had a comfortable majority for another two years. The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won 73 seats and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) took 21 seats. According to the polls, many voters turned to the LDP as the opposition parties were weak and divided.
In Japan’s southernmost prefecture, Okinawa, Abe suffered a major defeat losing all four seats to candidates opposed to the US bases there. This will complicate negotiations with Washington about a new marine base on the island.
By International Crisis Group
On 22 May, for the twelfth time in Thailand’s history, the army seized power after months of political turbulence. This is not simply more of the same. The past decade has seen an intensifying cycle of election, protest and government downfall, whether at the hands of the courts or military, revealing deepening societal cleavages and elite rivalries, highlighting competing notions of legitimate authority.
Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party Kuomintang (KMT) suffered a heavy defeat in local elections on 29 November. It won only 6 out of the 22 seats compared to 14 before.
Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Asia Centre, opened the panel discussion by saying that 2014 had been a good year for EU-ASEAN relations. But where should the relationship go now? What were the prospects for the ASEAN Economic Community by end of 2015? How should the EU deal with democratic back-sliding in some ASEAN countries? And how to ensure that the EU continued to give adequate attention to Asia and ASEAN?
EU-ASIA Centre is a think tank dedicated to promoting closer relations between the EU and Asia.