A Sea Change in Japanese Politics

Shizuo Kambayashi / AP Photo

A woman pushes a stroller by a Louis Vuitton store in Tokyo

Give Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), points for speed. Within hours of the DPJ's historic general-election victory on Aug. 30, Hatoyama was conferencing by phone with the leaders of South Korea and Australia, meeting with journalists and otherwise behaving as Japan's next Prime Minister — which he certainly will become in just a few weeks. "We have finally reached the starting line," Hatoyama told reporters on Aug. 31, leaving little doubt that he was eager to get on with governing.

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