Abenomics trumps constitutional reform Japan's economy the focus for post-election priorities

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Abenomics trumps constitutional reform Japan's economy the focus for post-election priorities
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  7/15/2016 Abenomics trumps constitutional reform - Policy Forumhttp://www.policyforum.net/abenomics-trumps-constitutional-reform/ 1/3 Abenomics trumpsconstitutional reform  Japan’s economy the focus for post-election priorities STEPHEN R NAGY PHOTO: AP Photo/Koji Sasahara About the AuthorStephen R Nagy Stephen R Nagy is anAssociate Professor of Politicsand International Studies at theInternational ChristianUniversity, Tokyo. Also by this AuthorSee All Share More Republish ECONOMICS AND FINANCE, GOVERNMENT AND GOVERNANCE, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NATIONAL SECURITY | ASIA, EAST ASIA 15 JULY 2016 Having now gained an Upper House majority, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe willspend his political capital on economic rather than constitutional changes,Stephen R Nagy writes. Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s landslide victory in last weekend’s UpperHouse election will allow for more economic, political and foreign policyconsistency and implementation. A steady political leadership under Abe’s LDP will allow for further economic reform and a reloading of  Abenomics  asrecommended by the IMF, and for continued consistency in foreign policy within Northeast and Southeast Asia.Liberal pessimists and many mass media outlets are stressing that Abe’s two-thirds coalition majority leaves him well placed to change Article 9 of theConstitution. This change would be transformative. The current Constitutionforever eschews Japan’s right to use war, so a change would shift the country’spacifist post-World War II identity to a country that claims to be pacifist but retainsthe right to use war as an instrument of the state.But speculation around constitutional change does not seem to be supported bythe explicit statements made by Abe and the LDP VP Masahiko Komura thatchanging Article 9 “will be difficult” (Abe) and “I don’t know about 10 years fromnow or however many years from now, but there is zero possibility (now) thatArticle 9 will be revised” (Komura).Moreover, in polls conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun  in early June 2016, thoserunning for election from the LDP’s Upper House stressed that economic policiesrather than constitutional reform should be the ruling government’s number onepriority. These sentiments were echoed in another poll conducted by Yomiuri  Majority musclein JapanObama inHiroshima: a pivot to peace? STEPHEN R NAGYSTEPHEN R NAGY Log In BrowseTopicsResearchPodcastsResourcesEventsSubscribeContribute   Search  7/15/2016 Abenomics trumps constitutional reform - Policy Forumhttp://www.policyforum.net/abenomics-trumps-constitutional-reform/ 2/3 You might also like Shimbun  in which “economy and employment” was ranked as the top category of policy issues related to the upcoming House of Councillors election. In light of public sentiment and the inclinations of elected Upper House members,economic policy rather than Constitutional change will be prioritised. Pre-election,the Abe government had already committed the government to spending morethan 10 trillion yen (USD$100 billion) as stimulus on the Japanese economy. Abe will seize support from the Japanese business community and the endorsement from the IMF to double down on  Abenomics  in order to push through toughstructural reforms while at the same time adopting some of the recommendationsof the IMF such as income policies, labour market reform, subsidising youngfamilies who need child care, raising minimum wages, and supporting equal payfor equal work among others.On the regional front, Abe’s landslide victory meanscontinuity for security strategies in the East China Seaand South China Sea. This will alleviate concerns fromWashington and Southeast Asian countries that the pastfour years of proactive diplomacy will be replaced by aless engaged Japan. That would have left SoutheastAsian countries in a vulnerable situation and disrupted theUS’ strategy in the region. In short, Abe’s strong mandatemeans that Japan will continue its strategy of formingstrategic partnerships in, but also outside, the region.For China, the Abe government’s strong mandate brings both an opportunity anda challenge. There is little doubt that the Abe administration has greatreservations about the future of Sino-Japanese relations. These reservationshave led to proactive, values diplomacy towards Southeast Asia in particular butglobally as well. From the Chinese point of view, this is an ABC (anybody butChina) approach that aims to isolate China within the region. Abe’s strongermandate could be seen as threatening and his current diplomacy in the regionmay be further enhanced.In contrast, the mandate could also be seen by China as an opportunity to forgemore transparent, trust-based relations with a known, right-of-centre nationalistpolitician that will be in power for at least two more years. A new or weakenedleader in Japan may be less predictable in terms of foreign policy in the regionand thus a challenge to Sino-Japanese relations.Turning back to the domestic front, there are several take-home messages fromthe election concerning young voters and opposition parties. First, young voterschose stability and hope for the success of  Abenomics , as evidenced in theirturnout and support for the LDP. Second, as Tobias Harris showed in his post-election analysis, opposition parties have made some progress in terms ofattracting more voters, however their one-issue campaign against Abe was not aconvincing political alternative, nor did it provide a policy narrative able to withstand criticism against Abe’s steady leadership.This policy deficit is equally vacuous in both the security and economic arenasand the end result was the fourth consecutive win by Abe’s LDP party at all levelsof government. Until realistic and substantive policy differences emerge in theopposition camp that convincingly tackle Japan’s real and emerging securitychallenges in the East China Sea and South China Sea, as well as policies tocreate a self-sustaining Japanese economy able to manage population declineand an aging population, an anybody but Abe campaign will continue to berejected by Japanese citizens in future elections. Abenomicsneeds peoplepower |Bethany Schoer More on this: India and China:the crisis to comeHow to live longand prosperTrading upTacklingAustralianpolicy's . . . zone'Crisis? Whatcrisis?Global growth atrisk ASIT K BISWASAXEL VAN TROTSENBURGLEN PERRYPAUL BURKEQUENTIN GRAFTONJOHN HEWSON Log In BrowseTopicsResearchPodcastsResourcesEventsSubscribeContribute   Search  7/15/2016 Abenomics trumps constitutional reform - Policy Forumhttp://www.policyforum.net/abenomics-trumps-constitutional-reform/ 3/3 Topics Arts, culture & societyDevelopmentEconomics and financeEducationEnvironment & energyFood & waterGovernment and governanceHealthInternational relationsLawNational securityScience and technologySocial policyTrade and industry Region AustraliaAsiaEast AsiaSouth AsiaSoutheast AsiaThe PacificThe World Legal Terms and conditionsPrivacyComments policy Partners Crawford School of Public PolicyAPPSAPP SocietyANU Society About The SocietySociety ConstitutionJoin the Society© Copyright 2016 Asia & the Pacific Policy Society | Website design: Code and Visual About usContact usContributeSubscribe   Join the APP Society Leave your Comment Cancel reply   Back to Top Share More Republish Your emai address wi not be pubised. 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