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Reiwa One: A Political Outlook
- Michael Cucek (Adjunct Professor, Department of Political Science,Temple University Japan campus and Adjunct Fellow at ICAS)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has presided over a long lived, durable administration — in defiance of recent tradition and contrary to the expectations of many. He had a testy first year in office. His Cabinet suffered serious declines in popularity during the years the Diet was considering the Specially Designated Secrets Act and the collective security enabling legislation. Nevertheless Abe and his administration have prevailed, with ministers serving long terms. Furthermore, the once reputed impatient and reactionary hothead has transformed into a reliable defender of the liberal international order, liberal economics and liberal social policy. A famous blowout loser in 2007, he has led his party to victory after victory in elections since 2012.
With another nation election fast approaching and the looming shadow of a rise in the consumption tax in October, what is the outlook for Abe Shinzo and his LDP? Do Abe and his party have a clear path to victory? Will they compress the political calendar to take advantage of the surprisingly chipper public mood? Or do the perpetually-in-disarray opposition parties have a viable plan to interfere Mr. Abe’s and the LDP’s plans? And what factors are in play regarding the consumption tax rise? Michael Cucek offer his analysis and opinions of the year ahead in Japanese politics and policy.
Adjunct Professor, Department of Political Science,Temple University Japan campus and Adjunct Fellow at ICAS
Michael Cucek is an Adjunct Professor at Temple University, Japan Campus teaching courses on the history of Japan to 1900, history of China to 1900, Japanese politics, U.S. policy & behavior in East Asia, international politics and the history of racial representation and is an Adjunct Fellow at ICAS. An alumnus of Stanford University with graduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Columbia University, Mr. Cucek has lived in Tokyo since 1994. For 15 years he was an employee of a boutique political risk research institute; he now provides independent consultation services to the diplomatic and financial communities on Japanese politics and government policy. Mr. Cucek is also an Adjunct Professor at Waseda University, teaching courses on Japanese politics and the history of Japanese media. He is the co-host of Langley Esquire’s monthly political analysis podcast Tokyo on Fire and has been a contributor to Tokyo Review, Foreign Policy, the East Asia Forum, Al-Jazeera and Newsweek Japan.