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Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Page: 4994

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (3:55 PM) —Mr Speaker, on indulgence: Japan is one of our longest-standing friends. We have many matters of mutual interest and shared values. We have longstanding trade, diplomatic and security ties. Japan was governed by one political party for about 50 years, yet it remains a vibrant democracy. Political history was made last August when the Liberal Democratic Party was defeated by the Democratic Party of Japan led by Mr Hatoyama. Soon after the election, I took the opportunity to visit Tokyo and met with ministers and government officials. They recognised the enormous challenge that the government would face being a new party in government after 50 years and were mindful of the difficulty in implementing a number of their election promises.

It is always a difficult time for a country when the national leader resigns. Mr Hatoyama is clearly a man of enormous integrity. He has accepted full responsibility for his inability to honour an election promise that he made to the people of Japan regarding the US military bases in Okinawa. While he has resigned as the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Hatoyama’s legacy will be one both of enormous achievement in winning the election for his party in 2009 and also of his dignity and integrity over this issue.