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Predictions for 2017

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Prediction is a game we all can play. Whether experts play it better than astrologers, palm readers, tea-leaf readers or the rest of us who simply flip coins is hard to say. Either way, Shukan Gendai (Dec 31 – Jan 7) turns to the experts for educated guesses as to what the dawning Year of the Rooster will sound like.

You don’t need expertise to foresee two things looming large – technology and the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump. Trump’s telephone chat early last month with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen defied a protocol in effect since 1979, when the U.S. broke off official relations with Taiwan to recognize China. The conversation may have been bland, but the implied message wasn’t, and China, predictably, was provoked. Here was the president-elect igniting a potential crisis more than a month before taking office, says Shukan Gendai. Where might it go from here? “If President Trump makes continuation of the one-China policy conditional upon Chinese trade concessions, Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon break off relations,” the magazine hears from a Beijing-based journalist. Could it mean war? Probably not, the journalist says, but if it does, given the massive population imbalance in China’s favor, “the U.S. would be the first to back down.”

Technological breakthroughs will propel driverless cars, the Internet of Things and so on closer and closer into our increasingly futuristic daily lives. Look for Japan’s first on-road experiments with driverless buses in 2017.

There is a puzzling paradox between technologically avant-garde Japan and its deeply conservative leadership. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finds himself in the rather odd position of being more conservative than the reigning emperor, whose postwar demotion to “symbol of the state and of the unity of the people” rankles rightists nostalgic for his prewar divine status. When Emperor Akihito announced in August his desire, owing to his advanced age, to abdicate, Abe and his closest advisors termed the situation “difficult.” There is no precedent for an imperial abdication. One unprecedented development may provoke others – female succession, for example; anathema to the right wing which sees in Abe their reflection and representative. “A decisive confrontation” looms between emperor and prime minister, predicts Shukan Gendai.

Abe’s name immediately suggests “Abenomics,” the economic reform package he said four years ago would turn Japan’s economy around. Economist Noriko Hama, long one of its bitterest critics, renamed it “Ahonomics” – “aho” meaning fool. “You might say it’s already at a dead end,” she tells the magazine. The shapeless, ad hoc nature of the program doomed it from the start, in her view. Could 2017 be the year in which the whole shaky edifice comes crashing down? Unfortunately, yes, she says.

Not everyone sees it that way. Economic analyst Tsukasa Jonen sees a two-thirds chance of the economy strengthening in the new year. Among the favorable omens is Trump’s presidency – Trump’s economic thinking seems to have much in common with Abenomics, suggesting the possibility of the two economies prospering in tandem. There’s one condition: “that Japan’s foreign ministry doesn’t screw up.”

When Abe feels he’s riding a wave, he calls elections. The legislative flurry of 2016 climaxed with the prime minister’s historic visit to Pearl Harbor on Dec 27. However you feel about his ideology and policies, his energy and activism are beyond question, and much admired by an electorate too long numbed by the seeming do-nothingness of too many of his predecessors. Shukan Gendai sees an 85% chance of the Diet being dissolved in January, followed by elections which, whether or not he wins big, Abe “can’t lose.” That would free him from poll worries until 2018, when his term as Liberal Democratic Party president ends.

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A decisive confrontation” looms between emperor and prime minister, predicts Shukan Gendai.

Well, this one has already been bypassed if any one at Gendai was paying attention. Abe and the cabinet have made this a one-time affair, for the current Emperor. There won't be any confrontation between these two.

long one of its bitterest critics, renamed it “Ahonomics” – “aho” meaning fool. “

This is not one seen in the mainstream press too often, if at all. Any major paper that printed this would face Aho's wrath I am sure.

That would free him from poll worries until 2018, when his term as Liberal Democratic Party president ends.

Here is a prediction, two years in advance. Abe changes the rules within the LDP so he can stay as party president for as long as he wants!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Mine: The new President-elect will run the country into the ground !

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Obama will be gone from the White House from Jan.20, but his mouth will remain open for some time.

Kurobune... Dream on.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

“the U.S. would be the first to back down.”

Pretty obvious that Shukan Gendai doesn't know much about both the capabilities of the US military compared to China's, nor the term "force projection capabilities."

China's just now launched their first aircraft carrier, a second hand one they bought from Russia. Meanwhile, the US Navy has 10 active carriers, 1 more finished and awaiting final commissioning, and the US Air Force has multiple aircraft that can reach out from their home bases within the USA and 'touch' pretty much anywhere in China without a problem.

And that isn't changing in 2017. Maybe 2027, but not 2017.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And that isn't changing in 2017. Maybe 2027, but not 2017.

Let's not forget that even though the US may have all that power at it's disposal, the willingness to use it against China or any other country for that matter, lies in the hands of the politicians.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My prediction? President Chump will end American greatness.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My predictions;front right will win elections in France,chancellor Angela Merkel will be defeated in elections,dollar will hurry on down,gold and oil will fly higher.there will be lots of disorder,crisis on political,sociable and economical levels in US,China economy will get worse.Turkey in the eye of wind this year,and Saudia will have economic troubles more likely currency will be floated,About President elect Trump..............................................lots to be told,everyone can guess)).Italy will face serious troubles,and Greece economy hurry on down again,but this time no way to save!these are mere expectations.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Trade war with China and maybe actual war with N. Korea. Trump tanks a healthy economy and drags JAPAN down too he can't take responsibility for anything so more name calling and blaming of others continues.

In Japan, sadly more of the same. Everyone knows that structural reform is necessary, but nobody wants to be the "1st penguin in the water." Thus nothing changes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

finds himself in the rather odd position of being more conservative than the reigning emperor, whose postwar demotion to “symbol of the state and of the unity of the people” rankles rightists nostalgic for his prewar divine status.

One other thing...better writing skills would be a neat prediction for this author. The "reigning" Emperor was not demoted. Keep that straight.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru: The "reigning" Emperor was not demoted.

Wasn't he, though? He was considered divine by right of his blood, a direct line from the Sun god. He didn't suddenly assume divinity when his father died and he ascended the throne. And his divinity was prewar as his father's was.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If President Trump makes continuation of the one-China policy conditional upon Chinese trade concessions, Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon break off relations,” the magazine hears from a Beijing-based journalist. Could it mean war? Probably not, the journalist says, but if it does, given the massive population imbalance in China’s favor, “the U.S. would be the first to back down.”

We could very well be at war with China this year. Wouldn't surprise me at all. And no, with trump at the helm, NO WAY is the US going to back down.

One unprecedented development may provoke others – female succession, for example; anathema to the right wing which sees in Abe their reflection and representative.

Which goes to show you just how stupid and sexist Abe and the right wing are. Complete fools who don't know their own mythology. Isn't the reason they believe the emperor to be divine is because he is a descendant of Amaterasu the Sun GODDESS?? How can you claim divinity through a goddess yet oppose female succession to the throne?? Its ridiculous.

“A decisive confrontation” looms between emperor and prime minister,

This shows that the right wing are not at all about restoring the imperial status and more about consolidating their power through it. If the right thought that having no emperor would advance their goals, why they'd have him and his family snuffed out, never mind abdication. This is what makes Abe and his right wing pure scum. They don't want to restore the emperor. They just want to consolidate their power.

Abe’s name immediately suggests “Abenomics,” the economic reform package he said four years ago would turn Japan’s economy around. Economist Noriko Hama, long one of its bitterest critics, renamed it “Ahonomics” – “aho” meaning fool. “You might say it’s already at a dead end,” she tells the magazine. The shapeless, ad hoc nature of the program doomed it from the start, in her view. Could 2017 be the year in which the whole shaky edifice comes crashing down? Unfortunately, yes, she says.

Hama Sensei is by far one of the people I most respect in all of Japan. She is a brilliant economist who manages to mix economic theory with social mores and really knows what she is talking about. Here's what I would like to see- a dream team to run against the muppets of the Abe regime comprised of Yuriko Koike as PM, Noriko Hama as Finance Minister, and Renho as Foreign Minister. Talk about a dream team.

However you feel about his ideology and policies, his energy and activism are beyond question, and much admired by an electorate too long numbed by the seeming do-nothingness of too many of his predecessors

Doing NOTHING is ALOT better than doing something that will harm the nation and its people, which is exactly what Abe has been doing. He's hurt Japan. Badly. I cannot think of one good thing, not one, he has done since he took power.

He was considered divine by right of his blood, a direct line from the Sun god.

Sun Goddess. Amaterasu is a female.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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