Abe On The Way Out?

Japan’s new prime minister may become the old PM in a short period of time. Shinzo Abe may have to resign after a drubbing at the polls this weekend and the loss of the upper chamber of Parliament:

Japan is set for a political crisis as the ruling coalition of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, looks to have suffered heavy losses in elections for the Upper House of parliament.
Exit polls suggest that the conservative ruling camp has lost its majority, which would leave Mr Abe still in government but with a seriously reduced ability to pass legislation, despite the coalition’s two-thirds majority in the more powerful House of Representatives.
The prime minister’s allies have said that he would not need to step down in the event of a loss of majority, but many commentators think it would make his resignation inevitable after only 10 months in office.

That could prove uncomfortable for the US. Abe has been a strong ally in several ways. He has remained firm against Kim Jong-Il even after South Korea had gone a little squishy at times. He also has given logistical support to the war in Afghanistan, with the Japanese navy assisting us in the Indian Ocean.
Interestingly, these policies do not appear to have caused his unpopularity. The Telegraph reports that widespread dissatisfaction on economic issues undermined his party at the polls. Japan has just turned around its economy, and now voters seem more concerned over issues of pension equality and consistent regional investment — the kinds of issues that usually trip up leaders after a much longer period of time.
Abe insists he’ll stay on, but he may find himself hobbled in the legislature to the point where he can no longer be effective. Who will take his place — and will it complicate our efforts in North Korea and the Middle East?

5 thoughts on “Abe On The Way Out?”

  1. remember: a few weeks before this “strong ally” fired a minister who admitted obvious truth that by nuking Hiroshima and forcing quick capitulation in August 1945 USA probably prevented Soviet occupation of Japan…
    Koizumi could have been a showoff, but at least he tried some reforms. And he was a real ally. This cabinet is just a bureaucratic farce, involved in all sorts of corruption scandals. It’s good Japanese are not willing to grant LDP seats for nothing anymore.
    as for Kim Jong Il, no sane Japanese politician will propose going soft on him and this feeling is shared by most people. With the abduction issue unsolved, recent nukes and rocket tests, China going insanely militaristic, they do feel threatened as hell. And angry too. So fear no change.

  2. There is very little daylight between the LDP and the rising opposition on those issues dear to the Captain. This will have a negative impact on Japan’s economy, however.

  3. I have a friend in Japan who wrote me a bit about this election. Abe’s problems have MUCH to do with problems with Japan’s pension plan.
    I think that the Japanese are also in a period of real uncertainty about their national security and defense posture. The norkies have succeeded in rattling Japan’s cage, and many Japanese are wondering how realistic their “self-defense only” military is in the 21st century.

  4. One of the emotional factors in the election has to do with mismanagement of Japan’s social security system, according to Mrs. Lokki who follows such things via talking to her sister in Japan.
    The government managed to lose the records of a lot of people who now can’t get benefits.
    True? I don’t know, but that’s the Japanese Woman’s trigger issue.
    As for Iraq and North Korea, my brother-in-law at least is very clear on what needs to be done. The Captain can be reassured on that front. Nobody in Japan believes that going home will make anything go away and get better.

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