The Following is an excerpt from the modern period of history of Japan avaible on-line on a Japanese gopher site.
[The Showa era] "opened in an atmosphere of promise. The nation's industries continued to grow, and its political life seemed soundly rooted in parliamentary government. New factors, however, began to have a disturbing influence. The worldwide depression unsettled the nation's economic life. Public confidence in the political parties waned after the exposure of a number of scandals. Extremists exploited the situation, and the military clique seized the opportunity offered them by the confusion of the times. The influence of the political parties steadily declined. After the Lugouqiao Incident led to the outbreak of war with China, the parties were forced to unite on a single platform of cooperation in the war effort. They were finally dissolved, and in their place was erected a united national party. With the Diet's functions reduced to little more than those of a rubber stamp, there could be no parliamentary obstruction to the tide of events that finally led to the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941."
Remarks: For those who had little knowledge of the modern history of East Asia, the above paragraph gives an impression that the Lugouqiao Incicent is one of the factors which obstructed the development of Japan's modern parliamentary democracy. But it is not true.
First, Japan started invading China and occupied Manchuria in 1931. Six years before the Incident. China was forced into the corner in the Lugouqiao Incident to defend its land and people. This is not an over-senstive refutation because some Japanese commentators argue that it was China who ignited the war as if the two countries were in harmony and peace before 1937. (They argue that it was the Chinese who fired the first shot in the Incident that started the war ignoring the fact that the Incident happened on Chinese soil.)
Secondly, Japan's political life has never soundly rooted in parliamentary government. Militarism, imperialism, and thought control have been adopted by the Meiji government as early as in 1869.(note) The military has always had an upper hand with or without the Incident.