Home Uncategorized Door Jamb: Shinzo Abe’s Future Prospects Looking Bleak

Door Jamb: Shinzo Abe’s Future Prospects Looking Bleak

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Door Jamb: Shinzo Abe’s Future Prospects Looking Bleak

Some have referred to Japan’s prime ministers as moving through a revolving door. They just don’t last very long in office. But until recently, it has looked like Shinzo Abe was set to stop that revolving door and become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
But a local election in Tokyo has created a rising doubt about Abe’s tenure. Voters from the capital’s metropolitan assembly on Sunday rejected the candidates from Shinzo Abe’s party, the Liberal Democrats, and elected all but one of the 50 candidates in a new party founded by Tokyo’s popular governor, Yuriko Koike. Tomin First is the upstart party Ms. Koike established in January, and it is widely seen as a referendum on the present prime minister and a sign of decreasing confidence in his leadership.
Abe has been in office since 2012, but has been dogged by scandals, unexplained policies and some ongoing blunders from members of his cabinet. In comments to reporters on Monday, he confessed that the recent voting was a “very severe judgment” on his administration. “This is the biggest crisis and the first major setback for Abe,” said Atsuo Ito, a political analyst in Tokyo. Before this election, it seemed that Abe and his party were invincible with two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament. But it seems that the public is frustrated with his repeated denials of corruption scandals.
“I just couldn’t vote for them,” said Kayo Mochizuki, 60, a Tokyo voter, referring to the Liberal Democrats. Ms. Mochizuki, who voted for a Tomin First candidate, suggested that problems like Shinzo Abe’s were “what happens if someone keeps power for a long time.”
The biggest threat that Shinzo Abe may face is not from the upstart party, but from his own party. “It’s not her that’s the threat,” said Michael Thomas Cucek, an adjunct professor at Waseda University and Temple University in Tokyo. “It’s his other rivals in the party who can take this loss and beat him with it.” Abe’s term runs until the end of 2018. And even though his party voted in March to change the rules and allow a prime minister to serve three consecutive terms which would have kept Abe in office until 2021, that prospect is now low.
What could actually save Abe is his political savvy with international diplomacy. He is one of the few world leaders that has gotten almost everything they have asked for from President Trump. With a visit from Trump coming in the Fall, and other upcoming Asian summit meetings, Shinzo Abe may be able to divert attention away from recent scandals and onto Japan’s role in the region and world. “To promote Japan’s interests internationally, having Mr. Abe is very important, and Japanese people understand this,” said Koji Murata, a professor of international relations at Doshisha University in Kyoto.
This recent change in the voting direction of the Japanese citizens is sure to have worldwide impact. What are your thoughts?
Credit: New York Times

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