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Michael Cucek: Abe Shinzo and the LDP in 2013: A New Era of Stability?
Swept into the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party as a second place finisher and elected prime minister in a constitutionally suspect election where millions of voters abstained in disgust, Abe Shinzo starts his second term on what would seem unstable and unforgiving terms. With a risk-taking economic growth plan and a social agenda out of step with the values of many Japanese, Abe is throwing away the rule book on the role a highly indebted government can play in leading an aging and cautious population.
Despite the adverse circumstances, Abe Shinzo seems to be doing well in his early weeks in office, with high poll ratings and significant support from the political, business and media establishments. He looks on course to lead his party to victory in the summer House of Councillors election and break the cycle of an annual rotation of prime ministers.
How stable is the Abe administration and program? What are the issues that can derail its progression? What changes should we expect after the House of Councillors election?