In the first decades of the 1955 System, voter turnout hovered in the low 70s to the high 60s. It gradually declined, falling to the low 60s, high 50s, and the Koizumi years brought no exceptions. I expect the upcoming Lower House general election to follow suit. The vast number of undecideds this close to the event (as well as the high number of people who reject Yukio Hatayama even before he’s had a chance) is a measure of the lack of public enthusiasm for the DPJ. No matter; the rumored campaign slogan for the DPJ—Regime Change (政権交代)—can only reinforce the impression that the Japanese electorate is so fed up that it will accept change for change’s sake, and that the DPJ is well aware of this fact. It’s let the bear catch the hindmost.
I expect to wait another election cycle or two before I see a real paradigm shift in the Japanese body politic at the policy end.