If there was ever a threat to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s leadership in recent months, it was annihilated last weekend. Not a single candidate from Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost in the latest Tokyo municipal government elections, while the biggest national opposition party even fell behind the Communists. Though Abe’s political dominance could bring an end to Japan’s stretch of political instability, the country’s economic future remains shaky at best, and the lack of any meaningful opposition to the LDP can only bode ill for the country’s longer-term prospects.
Voters in Tokyo, who are generally regarded as among the most progressive in the nation, took to the polls June 23 to elect their representatives to the Tokyo municipal government. It was, however, less a vote about city issues than a de facto referendum on the prime minister’s plan to stimulate growth, dubbed “Abenomics.” In response to monetary easing and other measures during Abe’s first six months in office, the yen has plunged in value, making Japan’s products more competitive in overseas markets. Share prices in Japan have surged as a result, leading to a kind of economic euphoria that has been sorely lacking in the country for years. These heady economic prospects ultimately led to all 59 candidates from Abe’s party winning in the Tokyo elections, giving the LDP a clear majority. More worrisome, though, was the fact that the leading opposition Democratic Party tumbled to fourth place with only 15 seats, two short of the Japan Communist Party and well behind the Buddhist-backed Komei Party. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
Sign up for two weeks of free access with your credit card. Cancel any time during the free trial and you will be charged nothing.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Global Insights: As China Ponders BMD Options, U.S. Must Consider Responses
- Fishing Wars: China’s Aggression Could Stoke Future Conflict
- North Korea’s Economic Reforms Constrained by Geopolitical Isolation
- World Citizen: China’s New Latin America Ties Are Strategic, Not Just Economic
- The Realist Prism: Fresh Off Obama’s India Trip, China’s Xi Courts Modi