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The Boston Globe



Conservatism in Japan

In a conformist culture, small-government activists take a roundabout path


When Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party stormed back to power in last month’s parliamentary elections, news stories in the West described the landslide as a resounding victory for conservatives in a vote driven by economic anxiety. Voters in 2009 had replaced the long-ruling Liberal Democrats — the more conservative party, its name notwithstanding — with a left-leaning coalition that had failed to pull the country out of a prolonged decline. Now the electorate had shifted decidedly rightward, and a conservative former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was back in the saddle.

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