World News Brief, Friday August 28

Japan's LDP expected to lose power for first time in 50 years; new Japanese government could alter Pacific Rim alliances; Israel offers nine month settlement freeze; Dalai Lama to Taiwan; and more

Top of the Agenda: Japan Prepares to Vote

Japanese voters appear poised to oust the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has been in control of the country's parliament almost continuously for the past fifty years, in this Sunday's elections.

Voters, discontent with the LDP (NYT) as they cope with the economic crisis, could give the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) more than three hundred seats (AFP), a majority, in the 480-seat lower house of Japan's parliament. Such a victory would put the DPJ in control of the Japanese government (CNN) for the first time it the party's history.

A DPJ election could mean changes in the US-Japan relationship. The Japan Times reports the DPJ is considering changes to the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement to include a clause on environmental pollution at US bases in Japan. The revision would allow Japanese officials to conduct inspections of environmental conditions on the bases.

In an Expert Brief, CFR's Shiela Smith says a change in Japanese power could strain the US-Japan alliance, and says the Obama administration will need to "be patient" through the country's political transition.

Reuters says a DPJ victory could spell warmer relations between Japan and China.

TIME assesses the DPJ's electoral platform, and says some of its proposals may not go far enough to repair deeper problems in the Japanese economy.

A DPJ victory could spark Japanese consumer confidence just as it begins to emerge from its worst post-war crisis, Bloomberg reports.

A CFR Backgrounder looks at the rise of the DPJ.

The DPJ's platform in the election, including "five pledges" on government spending, childrearing and education, pensions and medical care, regional sovereignty, and employment/economy, is available here.


PACIFIC RIM: Dalai Lama to Visit Taiwan

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will allow the Dalai Lama (Taipei Times) to visit the country next week to comfort survivors of Typhoon Morakot, which killed hundreds earlier this month. The visit could strain Taiwanese-Chinese relations (Guardian).

Timor-Leste: A new report from Amnesty International says perpetrators of the 1999 violence in Timor-Leste still enjoy impunity, a decade after the country voted for independence.



Israeli settlement freeze proposal.
US, Afghan forces attack clinic.


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on