THE impressive victory of the Democratic Party in the just concluded parliamentary elections in Japan has brought to an end more than a half century of conservative rule in the country. Exit polls show that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has won around 320 seats in the 480-seat lower house of Parliament. The DPJ is going to assume power at a time when the world's second largest economy is emerging from recession and still struggling with record unemployment. This means that the DJP will have to move fast to keep support among voters worried about a record jobless rate and rapidly inflating social security costs. Japan under the new regime will see a marked change, both on domestic and diplomatic fronts. The Democrats are expected to focus on cutting wasteful expenditure and reducing the power of bureaucrats. Media reports meanwhile indicate that they will want to forge a diplomatic stance more independent of the US, meaning thereby that the ousted Liberal Democratic Party will be missed more in Washington than in Japan.