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Abe Shinzo One Year on: What Have We Learned?
- Michael Cucek (ICAS Adjunct Fellow, Adjunct Professor at Waseda University and at Temple University Japan Campus (starting Spring 2016))
Japan’s politics will likely enter the New Years in a highly enervated state. Effort to sell the Official Secrets Act floundered, requiring humiliating negotiations with the opposition ending in a dictatorial denouement to screams of protest. The Supreme Court declared the map of electoral districts crafted to defeat constitutional challenge unfair — guaranteeing continued strife over the issue. Meanwhile, another set of cases challenging the constitutionality of the House of Councillors election wend their way to the Supreme Court.
Relations with China and South Korea are at their lowest ebb in memory, with China pursuing what seems an inexorable escalation toward open conflict. Should the Prime Minister make good on hints in the direction of a visit to Yasukuni, the publics of South Korea and China will erupt. As for a revival of the economy, median incomes need to rise, meaning the corporate sector has to be more adventurous and generous. For international investors to continue to have faith in Abenomics, they must see meaningful Third Arrow structural reforms. With the Administration’s recent all-consuming focus on security, the economic program seems to have been relegated to the back burner.
The Abe Administration has nevertheless had a remarkable run of good fortune and smart decisions. It has reason to feel proud of itself and its leaders still exude a stunning sense of confidence.
What are the Abe Cabinet’s and ruling party’s plans for 2014? Will they have a have the political momentum and maintain the internal cohesion necessary to achieve them in a meaningful way?
Do join us for ICAS first event of the new year for a look at we have learned in the year after the start of the second Abe administration and what we should be looking for in 2014.
ICAS Adjunct Fellow, Adjunct Professor at Waseda University and at Temple University Japan Campus (starting Spring 2016)
Michael Cucek is an analyst and author who had spent half a lifetime looking at Japan and the Japanese. An alumnus of Stanford University with graduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Columbia University, he has lived in Tokyo since 1994. An employee of a boutique research institute for 15 years, he now serves the diplomatic and financial communities as an independent consultant on Japanese politics and government policy. He is Adjunct Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Waseda University, teaching political science and international relations. He was Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Sophia University in Spring 2015, teaching courses in globalization and political leadership. In Spring 2016 he will be teaching Japan and a Changing World Order at Temple University Japan Campus and Introduction to International Politics in Fall 2016. He is the author of the blog Shisaku: Marginalia on Japanese Politics and Society (http://shisaku.