"JAPAN INCHES TOWARDS MEANINGFUL DEMOCRACY"
Says the FT headline. They use metric here in Japan, though, so "centimeters towards meaningful democracy" would be more correct, but in reality the change is closer to micrometric. The trappings of Western democracy are newly seen in the stridently promissory campaigns (work of a US campaign management firm) and the more specific intimations of voter appeasement (The Manifesto!), but the end result of all these cosmetics will be the same old LDP face (longest single-party rule in the world) until Japan is changed fundamentally by globalization, which should take another lifetime or so to work its way through the tight-knit social fabric...
[Later addition: though this is the first time I've ever heard major Japanese candidates actually get promise-hoarse by the day before elections, as always happens to US presidents by November, so I at least that's a beginning; to what end remains open to question.]