My brother tells me that the recent landslide victory by Japan's Liberal Democratic Party indicates strong popular support for the United States, for a robust Japanese involvement in the War on Terror, and for economic liberty.

The LDP, which has run Japan for nearly all the past 50 years, stormed to victory Sunday, boosting its standing in the lower house by nearly 50 seats in the 480-member chamber, to 296.

That success came at the painful expense of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which saw its standing plummet from 175 seats to 113. It won only one seat in Tokyo, a former stronghold.

Still, reports are that the pro-American, pro-defense actions of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi were not major campaign issues.

The funny thing about the Japanese election result was that by far the most important single issue of policy, and the one with the weightiest implications for the United States and the world, barely made any waves in the campaign.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi won a striking re-election victory by focusing on the single issue of domestic reform in a profoundly misleading way. He was able to campaign as the 'Lionheart' radical who would modernize Japan by privatizing the massive postal bank, and skirted the way that he has far more fundamentally changed Japan`s foreign policy.

Koizumi`s opponents tried to make his newly assertive and pro-American policies into an election issue, but failed. They promised to withdraw the Japanese troops that Koizumi had sent to Iraq (in a strictly non-combat role), and to repair relations with China and South Korea, and also attacked Koizumi for his regular visits to the Yasukuni shrine for Japan`s war dead, which included some World War II military figures accused of war crimes; the visits have also provoked angry comments from Chinese and Korean officials.

So, even if the populace isn't wildly anti-American, they're pro-American enough that the Prime Minister's affiliations didn't hurt him.



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