``Right Wing or Conservative?''- The Foreign Media's View of Shinzo Abe and the Return of the LDP
Kansai University of Foreign Studies
April 15th, 2013
``members of a conservative or reactionary
political party, or those opposing extensive
political reform. ‘’
1) Attending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or
2) Marked by moderation or caution
3) Marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, style, or manners
What Did Abe Want to
did it do
The Heian Period?
arts and culture
Kyoto the capital
of the country?
Great respect for
To a feudal system of
To samurai warriors
running the country?
To peasants knowing
their place and not
To Japan closed to
the outside world?
The Meiji Period?
To the emperor and small
band of oligarchs running the
To the age of 和魂洋才
(wakon yosai) ``Japanese
spirit/Western learning’’ which
means ``Keep Western
technology, Reject Western
Fight wars with
China, Russia, and
Korea, and become main
military power in Asia?
To the Prewar Period?
Attempt to colonize
Bad relations with virtually
everybody except Nazi
Italy, and leaders in Asian
(Indonesia, Burma, Taiwan
) friendly to Japan?
To the Immediate Postwar
A time of hard-working men who
rebuilt Japan and worked long
hours without complaint?
A time of women who stayed at
home and raised their children?
A time when people had less
material goods but had a national
purpose and worked toward a
A time when industry was
king, everybody hated liberals
and communists, the Yomiuri
Giants were guaranteed to win
every year, and nobody worried
about environmental pollution or
the social costs of pursuing an
The Late 1980s Bubble Economy
A time when Japan was Number
A time when the world respected
and admired Japanese industry
and people for being intelligent
and hard working?
A time when people had lots of
money, felt good, partied, and
spent it on luxury brand items
and foreign travel?
A time when women become
independent, aggressive, and
entered the workforce in greater
numbers than ever?
A time when Western culture in
Japan was at its most popular?
WE DON’T REALLY
KNOW. BUT GIVEN HIS
PAST, AND STATED
BELIEFS, WE CERTAINLY
KNOW HE IS NOT GOING
TO BE A PROGRESSIVE
OR A LIBERAL
Thus, the following kinds of reports. . .
Associated Press (Dec. 12th): Japan's
parliament elected Shinzo Abe as the nation's
prime minister on Wednesday, ending three
years of rule by liberal administrations and
bringing back to power the conservative, pro-big
Fri Dec 14
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Shinzo Abe may be
thoroughly modern when it comes to pitching his
policies on a widely followed Facebook page, but his
conservative agenda for shedding the shackles of
post-war pacifism is one that he learned at his
By Asian News International – Mon 17 Dec, 2012
Tokyo, Dec 17 (ANI): Japan's presumptive next prime
minister Shinzo Abe is a conservative hawk who
openly proposes revising the war-renouncing
Constitution to bolster country's military capabilities
Los Angeles Times
December 16, 2012
Japan’s conservative former ruling party made a
dramatic comeback in elections Sunday, riding a wave
of anxiety about rising China and economic stagnation.
``The conservative LDP's hawkish
leader, Shinzo Abe, will become Japan's prime
minister for the second time.’’
Shinzo Abe’s appointment
of a scarily right-wing
cabinet bodes ill for the
CONSERVATIVE LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
A HAWKISH, RIGHT-OF-CENTRE LEADER
A RIGHT-WING NATIONALIST,
WERE THE LABELS
WING’’, ``CONSERVATIVE HAWK’’
Given the groups Abe and his Cabinet
belonged to, it’s easy to see why the terms
Diet Groups to Which Prime Minister Abe belongs:
IDEOLOGICAL BREAKDOWN OF THE ABE CABINET
PRIORITY OUGHT TO BE MAKING SURE
THAT ABE’S RIGHT-WING FANTASIES DON’T
WRECK IT ENTIRELY.
BUT BY FEBRUARY,
THE TONE OF THE COVERAGE
BEGINS TO CHANGE.
ABE IS SHOWING AN INCREASING WILLINGNESS
TO TAKE ON SOME PILLARS OF JAPAN’S
BREATHE SOME NEW LIFE INTO JAPAN’S
I WANT TO SAY THAT
JAPAN’S DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN TOWARD CHINA,’’
CONTINUING AGAINST OUR COUNTRY’S TERRITORIAL
LAND, SEA, AND AIR.’’
JAPANESE PM SHINZO ABE’S SUPPORT RATINGS
INCH UP AFTER TPP ANNOUNCEMENT; MAJORITY
OF JAPANESE BACK ABE’S MOVE
SHINZO ABE II IS DOING MUCH
BETTER AT THE BOX OFFICE THAN ITS ILL-
ABE IS MAKING A
KEYSTONE OF HIS STRATEGY TO
OPEN JAPAN'S ECONOMY
An effort by many Japan
policy experts in the U.S.
and in Tokyo to convince
Western media that Abe
was not as right-wing as he
might seem (difference
between campaign rhetoric
and governing reality)
summit meeting with U.S.
president Barack Obama in
Continued problems with
Abe taking on political
establishment to meet
goals (return of
Futenma, joining TPP)
desired by many in
Washington as well as
many in Japan.
Lack of a clear, coherent
opposition in Japan to
challenge Abe. Lack of
strong opponents within the
A fear among many foreign
Will the LDP and New Komeito
win a two-thirds supermajority
in the Upper House?
If they do not win a
supermajority, will they tie up
with Nippon Ishin no Kai or
Minna no To?
Will Abe’s determination to
participate in TPP hurt the
Will the Constitution be
revised (Article 96)?
Will Abenomics still be popular
by the election?
If the LDP loses big, will Abe
Foreign correspondents in Japan
discussing the political situation.
1) Abe and his Cabinet have
conservative, traditional, and even
right-wing domestic policy views, but
their foreign policy (U.S.-Japan
relations, North Korea, China) shows
they are (1) pro-U.S.; and (2)
``pragmatic’’. In other words, Abe is
pursuing a foreign policy that U.S. and
Western media foreign policy
``experts’’ agree with.
2) Abe’s domestic economic policy of
``Abenomics’’ might not work, but
joining TPP will help.
3) Abe is willing to take on traditional
LDP support groups like farmers, at least
rhetorically, making him a ``tough’’
4) Most foreign media understand that
Abe is limited in what he can do because
of the twisted Diet.
5) Asian, especially Chinese, media
continue to remain suspicious of Abe’s
6) Foreign media interested only in Abe’s
foreign policy, and whether it is ``Right
Wing’’ or ``Conservative’’. Nobody really
cares about whether Abe’s domestic
social policies are right wing or
1) Nobody attempting to understand a host of issues, ranging from TPP to Okinawa to
the Senkakus, to North Korea, to Japanese fiscal policy, to how Japan is responding
to the Tohoku quake and Fukushima, to energy issues can do so unless there is a
good understanding of how the major media around the world see Abe and Japanese
2) Whether or not you agree with Abe and his Cabinet, as Japanese citizens, they are
your democratically-elected representatives and you, personally, are judged by those
who read the media reports of their actions on your behalf.
3) You cannot possibly communicate intelligently with the outside world if you have no
idea how the world, through the lens of the international media, sees your leadership.