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Asia-pacific

Japan's Democratic Party makes history online

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-09-16

Yukio Hatoyama's landmark victory in Japan's general election is the subject of much talk online. Also in today's review of the Web: a recent spurt of violence in Uganda prompts concern.

Yukio Hatoyama
 

Yukio Hatoyama has been invested as prime minister by the Japanese parliament. His movement, the Democratic Party of Japan, won the legislative elections on August 30. A moment which marks the start of historic political alternation, following 55 years of almost uninterrupted conservative reign .
 

Some bloggers express optimism, such as this Japan specialist, who would like to believe that the new government is capable of bringing about positive change in the country.
 
His optimism is not shared by this Japanese blogger. He remarks that the Democratic Party’s victory is the result of voters' frustration with the liberal party’s policies. According to him, putting the country’s economy back on its feet should be the new government’s priority.
 

In this interview, broadcast online, a professor from New York University describes a change in mentality in the population. Until now, Japanese people had always opted for continuity and experience. But faced with the scope and impact of the economic downturn, they chose to dismiss those they held responsible for the crisis.
 

Meanwhile, particular attention is being paid to the future first lady, Miyuki Hatoyama. This extract from an interview on Japanese TV has made it round the web. Mrs Hatoyama asserts solemnly that she and her husband like eating sunshine and that she once flew on a flying saucer to Venus in a dream.

Ethnic violence in Uganda
 

This weekend, the Ugandan capital, Kampala, was the stage for violent clashes between supporters of Kabaka, the traditional sovereign of the majority Baganda ethnic group, and government forces. The clashes left at least 21 dead and over 80 injured.
 

The Web has been widely used to broadcast information about the riot. The ‘Uganda Witness’ allowed users to follow in real time changes in the situation and Net users were invited to provide regular updates.
 

The social networks and Twitter in particular were also used by Net users in the capital. Some reported gun fire aimed at protesters by the army, while others testified to the arrival of government forces and numerous arrests being made.
 

And the videos and photos taken during this weekend’s riots quickly appeared online. Cars set alight, shops pillaged and make-shift road blocks -- all images that illustrate the violence the Ugandan capital was subjected to for three days.
 

Despite these incidents, this blogger feels the authorities' reaction was disproportionate. He claims that government forces fired at unarmed crowds. And he criticises the government’s decision to censor the press.
 

Meanwhile, more and more people are using the Web to call for peace in the country. This Facebook group campaigns to stop Uganda becoming a new Rwanda and this organisation invites Net users to send in donations to finance various projects for Ugandan children.

Date created : 2009-09-16

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