Ancient Japan - Postwar Japan (1945–present) - After The Cold War

After The Cold War

Main article: Heisei period

Japan after the Cold War is also called as the Heisei period, which starts from the year of the Revolutions of Eastern Europe. 1989 marked one of the most rapid economic growth spurts in Japanese history. With a strong yen and a favorable exchange rate with the dollar, the Bank of Japan kept interest rates low, sparking an investment boom that drove Tokyo property values up sixty percent within the year. Shortly before New Year's Day, the Nikkei 225 reached its record high of 39,000. By 1991, it had fallen to 15,000, signifying the end of Japan's famed bubble economy. Unemployment ran reasonably high, but not at crisis levels. Rather than suffer large-scale unemployment and lay-offs, Japan's labor market suffered in more subtle, yet no less profound effects that were nonetheless difficult to gauge statistically. During the prosperous times, jobs were seen as long term even to the point of being lifelong. In contrast, Japan during the lost decade saw a marked increase in temporary and part-time work which only promised employment for short periods and marginal benefits. This also created a generational gap, as those who had entered the labor market prior to the lost decade usually retained their employment and benefits, and were effectively insulated from the economic slowdown, whereas younger workers who entered the market a few years later suffered the brunt of its effects.

In a series of financial scandals of the LDP, a coalition led by Morihiro Hosokawa took power in 1993. Hosokawa succeeded to legislate a new plurality voting election law instead of the stalemated multi-member constituency election system. However, the coalition collapsed the next year as parties had gathered to simply overthrow LDP and lacked a unified position on almost every social issue. The LDP returned to the government in 1996, when it helped to elect Social Democrat Tomiichi Murayama as prime minister.

The Great Hanshin earthquake hit Kobe on January 17, 1995. 6,000 people were killed and 44,000 were injured. 250,000 houses were destroyed or burned in a fire. The amount of damage totaled more than ten trillion yen. In March of the same year the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo attacked on the Tokyo subway system with sarin gas, killing 12 and injuring hundreds more. An investigation later revealed that the cult was responsible for dozens of murders that occurred prior to the gas attacks.

Junichiro Koizumi was president of the LDP and Prime Minister of Japan from April 2001 to September 2006. Koizumi enjoyed high approval ratings. He was known as an economic reformer and he privatized the national postal system. Koizumi also had an active involvement in the War on Terrorism, sending 1,000 soldiers of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to help in Iraq's reconstruction after the Iraq War, the biggest overseas troop deployment since World War II.

The ruling coalition is formed by the liberal Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the leftist Social Democratic Party and the conservative People's New Party. The opposition is formed by the liberal conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Other parties are the New Komeito Party, a Sōka Gakkai party and the Japanese Communist Party. On 2 June 2010 Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned from his position as leader of the DPJ, citing the failure to fulfill his campaign promise of removing a U.S. base from the island of Okinawa as his main reason for stepping down.

On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered the strongest earthquake in its recorded history, affecting the north-east area of Honshū. The magnitude 9.0 quake was aggravated by a tsunami and also caused numerous fires and damaged several nuclear reactors. Damage to Fukushima Nuclear Plant led to meltdown of three reactors and release of radioactive material, in the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Read more about this topic:  Ancient Japan, Postwar Japan (1945–present)

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Famous quotes containing the words war and/or cold:

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    When they laurel the graves of our dead!
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    Waiting the Judgment Day:—
    Love and tears for the Blue;
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    It had been cold since December. Snow fell, first,
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