PM Abe of Japan Obtains A Perfect Parliamentary Result
Kanako Itamae and Pierre Leblanc
Modern Tokyo Times
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, called for a snap election based on strengthening his position within the land of the rising sun. This reality applies to a duality, firstly to highlight the ineffectiveness of the opposition nationally; secondly, and equally important, to prevent any senior internal factions within his own party to agitate to any major degree. Therefore, the result of the Japanese parliamentary election delivered up a perfect result for Abe.
Abenomics is often touted in the media both domestically and internationally, however, for Abe his goal is much deeper than this. Of course, economic reforms are a significant part of Abe’s initial mantra. However, other essential goals based on forging a new confident Japan are the real long-term ambitions of the current prime minister.
The final parliamentary result announced states that the ruling coalition obtained 325 seats out of a possible 475 that were up for grabs. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of course is the senior party, with the other part of the jigsaw being Komeito. Therefore, with the LDP winning 290 seats and Komeito emerging victorious in 35 seats, then Abe’s gamble was richly rewarded.
Lee Jay Walker at Modern Tokyo Times states: “Irrespective if individuals support Abe or not, the one major positive result is that Japan can have political stability. This is essential, after all, many political leaders come and go without anybody noticing, and this isn’t good enough for such a powerful nation state. Therefore, Abe can provide political normality even if he upsets the applecart from time to time.”
The focus on Abenomics is misleading because internally the economic reforms are not widely supported or admired. Indeed, the economy currently is showing signs of stress once more. On top of this, state intervention within the economy is nothing new in Japan – even if the aims are allegedly different. Thus, printing more money and raising consumption tax doesn’t appear to be working currently to any major degree. Of course, for Abe, and others who support Abenomics, they claim that the results will witness fruit in years to come.
Indeed, the gamble by Abe wasn’t such a major risk because he knows full well that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is in disarray. This is a far cry from what seemed possible with the DPJ only a few years ago. Therefore, while the DPJ did increase their electoral seats to 73, this is still woefully short of being a serious opposition party.
Abe is also determined to strengthen the power of women in the workplace by focusing on targets related to employment. At the same time, anti-discrimination laws in relation to the rights of women in the workplace will be tightened. Of course, given the low birth rate in Japan – and with this nation not supporting the immigration approach like other major economic powers – then the utilization of women is essential based on many important factors.
Lee Jay Walker states: “LDP and Komeito still have much to ponder despite the marriage of convenience because the Buddhist-influenced Komeito supports pacifism within the constitution. However, Abe wants a more robust foreign policy whereby Japan isn’t constrained in a military sense. In fairness to Abe, it must be stated that China continues to increase its military spending and in the geopolitical space of Japan it is a fact that the Russian Federation, China and North Korea are all nuclear powers. At the same time, territorial disputes exist between all regional nations in Northeast Asia. Therefore, according to Abe it is essential that Japan moves-on in order to become a normal nation state and to forge greater ties with democratic nations throughout the Asia-Pacific.”
It is now essential for Abe to implement major reforms and to set out a new path for Japan. After all, in recent times the coming and goings of political leaders produced little internally. Also, externally the strange political ways of Japan damaged the reputation of this powerful nation state. Given this reality, it is hoped that tackling the public debt will be given greater priority based on economic reforms and providing more government coffers based on raising consumption tax. Likewise, it is hoped that Japan can focus on new innovational approaches in order to restore the economy and at the same time, for Japan to play a more important role in foreign affairs. Equally important, Japan also must formulate a new energy policy.
Abe stated about Abenomics that: “I am aware that there are still a lot of people who are still not feeling the benefits. But it’s my duty to bring [benefits] to those very people, and I believe this election made that clear.”
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