Public lecture slide presentation (1.9.2014) Michael Cucek: Abe Shinzo one year on: what have we learned?

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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?

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Public lecture slide presentation (1.9.2014) Michael Cucek: Abe Shinzo one year on: what have we learned?

  1. 1. Abe Shinzo One Year On: What Have We Learned? Michael Cucek Research Associate, MIT Center of International Studies Adjunct Fellow, TUJ - ICAS
  2. 2. “Abe and the LDP: A New Era of Stability?” ( 28 February 2013 )
  3. 3. 90 % NHK Cabinet Support Ratings Obuchi 80 Mori 70 66 64 66 64 65 Koizumi 62 59 60 57 57 60 58 Abe 1 50 50 Fukuda 40 Aso 30 Hatoyama Kan 20 Noda 10 Abe 2 Number of months post-inaguration 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  4. 4. NHK Party Support Ratings 50 % LDP 45 DPJ 40 35 JRP 30 New Komeito 25 Your Party 20 Life 15 Communist 10 Socialist 5 Don't know/Cannot say 2012 2013 12月 11月 10月 9月 8月 7月 6月 5月 4月 3月 2月 1月 12月 0
  5. 5. “A New Era of Stability?” – What Could Go Wrong ( 28 February 2013 ) • Reversal of Market Sentiment • Scandals • International Incident • Internal Dissension • Policy Overreach
  6. 6. Abe Shinzo elected president of the LDP Nikkei 225 Index Images courtesy: Prime Minister’s Residence homepage
  7. 7. Yen vs. Dollar vs. Euro vs. Dollar Abe Shinzo elected president of the LDP Image courtesy: Tsuchiya Atsushi
  8. 8. Foot In Mouth Disease May 2013 JRP Co-leader Hashimoto Toru says “comfort women” were necessary for calming hopped up soldiers and suggests that U.S. personnel on Okinawa become regular patrons of Okinawan sexuals services establishments July 2013 Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aso Taro muses to a revisionist audience about a supposed quiet demise of the liberal Weimar Constitution and wonders “Is there not something we could learn from the experience”? Image courtesy: Tokyo Shimbun
  9. 9. The Immaculate Deflection Tokuda Takeshi LDP, Kagoshima District #2 Inose Naoki Governor, Tokyo Metropolitan District Image courtesy: The Asahi Shimbun Image courtesy: Sankei Biz
  10. 10. International Incident 23 November 23, 2013 China ADIZ announcement Image courtesy: The Asahi Shimbun 1 January 2014 Chinese balloonist attempts landing on Senkakus, ditches. JCG, China Coast Guard and Taiwanese authorities cooperate to save and repatriate him Image courtesy: The New York Times
  11. 11. “A New Era of Stability?” – What Could Go Wrong ( 28 February 2013 ) • Reversal of Market Sentiment • Scandals • International Incident • Internal Dissension • Policy Overreach
  12. 12. “A New Era of Stability?” – What Could Go Right ( 28 February 2013 ) • A Moribund DPJ • A By-passed JRP • Proper policy mix • The Third Way
  13. 13. “What Have We Learned?” • Ability to Work A Calendar • Theatricality • Ability To Reverse • Patience • Performance • Brutality
  14. 14. “What Have We Learned?” • Ability to Work A Calendar • Theatricality • Ability To Reverse • Patience • Performance • Brutality
  15. 15. “What Have We Learned?” • Ability to Work A Calendar • Theatricality • Ability To Reverse • Patience • Performance • Brutality
  16. 16. “What Have We Learned?” • Ability to Work A Calendar • Theatricality • Ability To Reverse • Patience • Performance • Brutality
  17. 17. Oops, I Did It Again April 23, 2013 Abe stumbles through Maruyama Katsuya’s questions regarding implications of “escape from the postwar regime” and the “misaken policies” clause in the Maruyama Statement Screen capture courtesy: House of Councillors Television
  18. 18. Oops, I Did It Again…Again Heisei Emperor and Empress First Official Sovereignty Day Ceremony April 28, 2013
  19. 19. Oops, I Did It Again…Again…Again Prime Minister Abe Shinzo wearing jersey # 96 Ceremony Bestowing People’s Honor Awards on Nagashima Shigeo and Matsui Hideki 6 May 2013
  20. 20. “What Have We Learned?” • Ability to Work A Calendar • Theatricality • Ability To Reverse • Patience • Performance • Brutality
  21. 21. “What Have We Learned?” • Ability to Work A Calendar • Theatricality • Ability To Reverse • Patience • Performance • Brutality
  22. 22. “What Have We Learned?” • Ability to Work A Calendar • Theatricality • Ability To Reverse • Patience • Performance • Brutality
  23. 23. The Tyranny Of The Numbers
  24. 24. House of Representatives – The Parties Socialist 2 Independents 14 Your Party 9 People's Life 7 JRP 53 Communist 8 Yui 7 DPJ 56 LDP 293 Number of seats needed for supermajority = 320 New Komeito 31
  25. 25. House of Councillors – The Parties New Renaissance 3 Socialist 3 Independents 4 JRP 9 Your Party 12 People's Life 2 Communist 11 Yui 6 DPJ 58 LDP 114 Number of seats needed for majority = 122 New Komeito 20
  26. 26. House of Councillors – The Ruling Coalition New Renaissance 3 Socialist 3 Independents 4 JRP 9 Your Party 12 The Ruling LDP-NK “Hawks and Doves” Coalition People's Life 2 Communist 11 Yui 6 DPJ 58 LDP 114 134 seats Number of seats needed for majority = 122 New Komeito 20
  27. 27. House of Councillors – The New Ruling Coalition? New Renaissance 3 Socialist 3 Independents 4 JRP 9 Your Party 12 The New Ruling LDP-JRP-Your Party “Hawks, Hawks, Hawks” Coalition? People's Life 2 Communist 11 Yui 6 DPJ 58 LDP 114 135 seats Number of seats needed for majority = 122 New Komeito 20
  28. 28. House of Representatives – The Ruling Coalition Socialist 2 Independents 14 Your Party 9 People's Life 7 Current Ruling LDP-NK “Hawks and Doves” Coalition JRP 53 Communist 8 Yui 7 DPJ 56 324 seats LDP 293 Number of seats needed for supermajority = 320 New Komeito 31
  29. 29. House of Representatives – The New Ruling Coalition? Socialist 2 Independents 14 Your Party 9 People's Life 7 Future Ruling LDP-JRP-Your Party “Hawks, Hawks, Hawks” Coalition? JRP 53 Communist 8 Yui 7 DPJ 56 357 seats LDP 293 Number of seats needed for supermajority = 320 New Komeito 31
  30. 30. What Have We Learned?
  31. 31. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
  32. 32. Thanks. Special thanks to Robert Dujarric and the Institute of Contemporary Asia Studies, Temple University Japan. Michael Thomas Cucek http://shisaku.blogspot.jp/ shisakublog@gmail.com

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