Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo, Monday night. Photo: AP
politics

Abe pledges to regain public trust

49 Comments

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his ratings battered by suspicion he helped a friend get favored treatment for a business, and criticism that he used strong-arm tactics in parliament, vowed on Monday night to regain the people's trust.

Speaking at a news conference, Abe also said he would start thinking "carefully" about reshuffling his cabinet and key party posts to get the right people to push ahead with reforms.

But he did not confirm a Nikkei business daily report that he would do so in August or September, and would retain Finance Minister Taro Aso and ally Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshide Suga.

A slew of public opinion polls have showed support for Abe's cabinet slumping sharply, with the Mainichi newspaper reporting that his ratings had fallen 10 points to 36%, the biggest drop since he took office in December 2012.

Non-support for Abe rose to 44%, the first time it surpassed the percentage of backers since October 2015, after parliament enacted controversial security laws expanding the scope for military activities overseas, the Mainichi said.

Last week, the education ministry unearthed documents that the opposition said suggested Abe wanted a new veterinary school run by a friend to be approved in a state-run special economic zone. The ministry had earlier said it could not find the documents but reopened the investigation under public pressure.

Abe has denied abusing his authority to benefit his friend. On Monday, he repeated that procedures had not been "distorted" but acknowledged the government needed to win back public trust.

"We must calmly explain each policy one by one so we can win the trust of Japanese citizens," Abe said at the news conference marking the end of the Diet's latest session on Sunday. "I have renewed my determination to do so."

Opposition politicians and media have identified Abe's friend as Kotaro Kake, the director of the Kake Educational Institution, which plans to open a veterinary department. The government has not approved new veterinary schools for decades because of concern about a glut of veterinarians.

Almost three-quarters of voters in the Mainichi survey were not convinced by the government's insistence there was nothing wrong with the approval process.

The institution has said it had acted appropriately.

Voters were split over parliament's enactment of a law to penalise conspiracies to commit terrorism and other serious crimes. But many expressed distaste for the ruling coalition's tactics in rushing the bill through parliament.

The ruling bloc took the rare step of skipping a vote in committee and going directly to a full upper house session.

Abe reiterated the necessity of the law . "Although we feel (the law) is essential for strengthening international coordination in dealing with terrorism, we're aware that some members of the public remain uneasy and concerned about it," Abe said, reiterating that "ordinary people" will not be subject to either punishment or investigation under the law.

Abe also revealed a plan to launch a panel this summer to discuss ways to foster human resources that he described as a "driving force."

"We will turn Japan into a country full of opportunities for anyone," he said.

Experts said voters were irked at signs Abe was guilty of hubris after more than four years in office with no serious rivals, but for now they were betting he could ride out the storm.

"The public doesn't like the arrogance, but they don’t like the alternatives even more than they don’t like Abe," said Columbia University professor emeritus Gerry Curtis.

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party support far outstripped that of the opposition Democratic Party, the polls showed.

© Thomson Reuters/Kyodo

©2017 GPlusMedia Inc.

49 Comments
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We don't trust you please leave.

22 ( +25 / -3 )

"We will turn Japan into a country full of opportunities for anyone," he said.

I hear they need factory workers in Tohoku to pack munitions.......

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Dear prime minister, here are some ideas.

  1. Buy everyone off with some gift coupon to stimulate the economy (Aso tried that before)

  2. Shuffle the government but keep core corruption and favoritism in place.

  3. Distract the people with North Korea or any other event.

  4. Reinstate the tokko.

  5. Resign.
13 ( +17 / -4 )

We will turn Japan into a country full of opportunities for anyone," he said.#

Another day another empty Abe pledge. How many is that now since the infamous & invisible " i will fire the 3rd arrow and drill the bedrock of regulations ".

Maybe instead of more pledges Abe could actually focus on fulfilling the multitude of ones he already came up with.

But then again he doesnt need to...the majority of voters who bother to turn up in election day will dully re elect their LDP daimiyo,s anyway.

The only exception being the Tokyo election of course there Koike will kick some arrogant LDP oyaji ass...thats the only bright spot on the depressing J -politics scene.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party support far outstripped that of the opposition Democratic Party, the polls showed.

Tsk. That's another part of the problem - no matter what they think of Abe, enough people will keep voting for their local LDP Diet members. His support ratings might continue to drop to the point that LDP politicians will get scared that he's a threat to their re-election prospects and start sharpening their knives, but we'll just end up with someone almost as bad in charge. Almost being the key word.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Abe pledges to regain public trust

BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

 Abe also said he would start thinking "carefully" about reshuffling his cabinet and key party posts to get the right people to push ahead with reforms.

Musical Chairs- only here, EVERYONE has a chair to sit in.

Political Non-support for Abe rose to 44%, the first time it surpassed the percentage of backers since October 2015, after parliament enacted controversial security laws expanding the scope for military activities overseas

That's some good news.

Last week, the education ministry unearthed documents that the opposition said suggested Abe wanted a new veterinary school run by a friend to be approved in a state-run special economic zone. The ministry had earlier said it could not find the documents but reopened the investigation under public pressure.

The education ministry, formerly the Kempeitai, is not to be trusted to do the right thing either.

We will turn Japan into a country full of opportunities for anyone," he said.

alright, y'know what? Enough! Ok? Seriously. We have had ENOUGH of your horse manure BS. Seriously.

Experts said voters were irked at signs Abe was guilty of hubris after more than four years in office with no serious rivals, but for now they were betting he could ride out the storm.

"The public doesn't like the arrogance, but they don’t like the alternatives even more than they don’t like Abe,"

Really? Why? Renho seems like a MUCH BETTER choice. I don't know if I actually believe that. Abe could actually lose an election if he were to call one now. Its not impossible.  I'd like to know who these "experts" are.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Is this a pledge or an arrow? An arrow pledge? A pledge for more arrows? The quiver seems to have run dry

12 ( +14 / -2 )

But then again he doesnt need to...the majority of voters who bother to turn up in election day will dully re elect their LDP daimiyo,s anyway.

And this is the most depressing part of it all. Even when the Japanese are gifted with an opportunity - they always choose suffering over change...

Mark my words, politics will continue unabated on its present course here.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

"Regain public trust?"

How can he regain something he never had. He already failed once as PM.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I know lots of people here get angry at the opposition going after Abe and his scandals, encouraging them to come up with policies instead, but it seems that the only was to get rid of someone is by uncovering a big enough scandal. The old Minshuto had policies, free education up to high school, making the express roads cheaper or free, making wealthier people pay more for social security, more daycare places, and still the people voted them out and don't trust them. What more can they do, and why is this level of distrust so high? In most normal countries there is always an ebb and flow for support, but not here in the land of one party rule!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Actually if you think about it, he represents about %65-%70 of the elderly voters.

Most people also don't vote against their families chosen party.

Hes saying exactly the right things ("we will do our best", "challenge for this, gambaru for that") to the 55-80 year old populace, and it will (sadly) work again.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Abe pledges to regain public trust

Yes, that's right! And, Moses parted the Red Sea while riding a unicorn.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Strange words from a man, who after the best part of 5 years in power, still blurts out the same gobbledygook.

The crux of his blurtings always is that the public doesn't understand - so he will explain in detail so they see the light.  The LDP are never wrong - never. It doesn't matter if the topic is nuclear power, fiscal policy, education, constitution, the poor, or whatever. Their and Abe's point is we know and you don't, so there is no value in listening to peoples alternative opinions - which are never right.

This one party monolith hardly represents the Liberal Democratic ideals it tells us it represents.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

No one cares Abe!

You have achieved NOTHING as prime minister. Actions speak louder than pledges, promises, declarations, etc. Do something or do one.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Political apathy and shouganaism here always makes me think of learned helplessness.

Learned helplessness is a psychological state that describes what happens when people believe they have no control over their environment. When we become convinced our actions will not have the impact we desire, we cease our efforts and become passive and helpless.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

"We must calmly explain each policy one by one so we can win the trust of Japanese citizens," Abe said.

So actually the fault lies with the Japanese citizens who don't have a correct understanding of the LDP's policies? Trust means nothing more than agreeing with what the LDP says? The LDP is infallible?

The arrogance and self-entitlement is nauseating. Japan is well on the way to becoming a "sophisticated failed state" and the LDP have no answer. Nothing.

"Yet by and large, everything works as it should in the mature democracies of the developed world. Elections are fair and free. The courts work, and so do the tax authorities. The police can mostly be trusted, corruption is comparatively low and, overall, the institutions of public administration function as they should. In other words, none of the classic elements of state failure are present. Yet nothing gets done".

"That is the definition of sophisticated state failure: to have a functioning state in which nothing gets done".

https://www.ft.com/content/f519492e-022b-11e6-99cb-83242733f755?mhq5j=e1

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I think he will overcome his situation and he will be elected a few more times from his district in his prefecture ward.  But write who you like to be next pm.  Ldp snoopers may get your message.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Abe wanted a new veterinary school run by a friend to be approved in a state-run special economic zone.

Trust is like mirror, when broken it cannot be fixed, so can the public now pledge to have trusty PM ? This one should resign.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

MarkXToday08:32 am JST

The old Minshuto had policies, free education up to high school, making the express roads cheaper or free, making wealthier people pay more for social security, more daycare places, and still the people voted them out and don't trust them. What more can they do, and why is this level of distrust so high?

What's interesting to reflect on is how often the DPJ/DP have kept fielding candidates who lost in previous elections. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I see there's someone who keeps voting down the comments here but has very little to say, if anything, for themselves. I always find that a good indication of just how indefensible Shinzo Abe and the LDP really are.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

How many times can this liar and crook get away with his dodgy deals before he is thrown out? All he says is "we must calmly explain our policies", yet he never does. When questioned in the Diet he refuses to answer, arrogantly assuming he is above such things as being held to account.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"promises bind only those who listen to them" declared French politician Henri Queuille many decades ago. Abe get out as well all other dinosaurs and their families keeping play with the country!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Abe sounds like an abusive husband..."I'm sorry I beat you, I promise I will never do it again. Please lets kiss and make up?" The only question is will the public react like a woman who stays in such a relationship? ("He's rough at times, but he has a good heart and really loves me...")

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yes, that's right! And, Moses parted the Red Sea while riding a unicorn.

That's no less believable than the original story. I prefer your interpretation, however.

I'm surprised people still have any trust in this guy. I don't really see any tangible results of the changes he's made except to make products more expensive. As much as I'd prefer he'd leave the position, I don't exactly see any other viable candidates at the moment. Where's the voice of the young people?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Where's the voice of the young people?

They have been so hardcore brainwashed, any authority figure could tell them that 'up' is now 'down' and they would walk around on their hands.

It's all beyond repair now, the best you can do is make sure your 'plan b' is firmly in place before the train pulls into Crapsville.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

You have achieved NOTHING as prime minister

that is not true. he passed the state security and state secrets and now conspiracy bill. On the way to smash Article 9. Restarted NPPs. Maintained the downhill slide of the economy. Pead off S Korea and China, our major trading partners. Sent spies and riot police to shut up those pesky Okinawans. Instigated Japan as an arms dealer to those dodgy regimes. Silenced those silly women's equality louts. Made one in six children float on the poverty line to insure cheap manual labor in time for the Olympics. Made sure mr trump knows Japan is under his control. And, showed ordinary Japanese that he has a light, humane side, by taking time out of his busy schedule to help out his friends with his influence.

You cant say he hasn't achieved anything!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Of all the terrible things Abe is responsible for, he is losing public trust because he helped an old friend?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

koiwaicoffeeToday11:04 am JST

Of all the terrible things Abe is responsible for, he is losing public trust because he helped an old friend?

He did all the other stuff by the book, and was quite brazen about it because he's got majorities in both Houses of the Diet and lots of Diet members are like-minded Nippon Kaigi stooges. But in helping his old friend he's clearly abused the power of his office and then tried to cover it up. Before he looked like some neo-nazi nutjob acting in what he perceives to be the national interest, now he looks like a weaselly sleazebag who's only looking out for himself and his chums.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I guess his cabinet members are not his friends.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"I'm not going to listen to what you say and pass whatever laws I want, and sure everything I've told you up to now has been lies, but please TRUST me that I'm not going to lie anymore!"

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The Japanese seemingly prefer to learn that hard way, if at all. Democracy, even the Japanese version, carries with it a certain responsibility to those who elect (yes, including within a parliamentary system), not just to those who have been elected. With respect to Abe, the Japanese appear to remain enamoured with what is little more than a Pinocchio-Nero hybrid. The long, steep slide continues. Enjoy.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

What's interesting to reflect on is how often the DPJ/DP have kept fielding candidates who lost in previous elections. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

And the LDP fields anyone with name recognition, they could even field a panda

and the people will vote for it because it is running under the LDP ticket and is famous.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"I will regain the trust of the public." (S.Abe)

TRANSLATION:

(Japan is a democracy. I represent the people and I don't need to consult with them about what they need and want. I already know. I listen to the voices in my head. They tell me what to say and do.)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

None of the persons in Japan can replace Mr.Abe.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

And the LDP monarchy stumbles on ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Despite useless as Counterterrorism,

Abe Government repeats:"Anti-Conspiracy Law for Counterterorism".

After passage of Anti-Conspiracy Law,

Harassment or Intimidation by Japanese extreme-Rightists seemed to increase.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Another launch from North Korea which will blow Abe's sails right up, yet again!:( Gaining support while secretly legislating laws to restrict political opposition and freedom!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The government has not approved new veterinary schools for decades because of concern about a glut of veterinarians.

Why should the government be concerning itself with a glut or otherwise of veterinarians?

Anyone who wants to open a school should be free to do so.

Dont tell me getting the approval meant drawing tax funded subsidies too?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

state-run special economic zone. 

Oh my godz....

"We will turn Japan into a country full of opportunities for anyone," he said.

That was the idea of third arrow reforms, but this implies taking privilege away from various vested interests. Wanting to keep the vested interests on side is why Abe has done nothing, and why I am not about to start believing in him now.

Deregulate to remove protections, for all vested interests. That is how Japan can become a country full of opportunities, for all. Level the playing field, and get government and bureaucracy out of the way.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes, it means getting subsidies. Kake got free land and a cool 9.3billion yen. Some people are just so lucky to feed off the fat of the land. A real mystery that the average taro and hanako have not taken to the streets to vent their anger. Has a spell been cast on the japanese people.?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

One of the features of vested interests versus the rest of us is that the cost of the various vested interests is spread thinly across the entire community.

In sum the total cost of all vested interests to us is huge but the cost of this free land case here is not much per capita, it is just a scandal.

I think this is why there are no protests in disgust.

I would love to see a general uprising against all vested interests. Absolutely all of them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For Japan to regain trust is for Abe to resign.

No other choices, as simple as that.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

What has Abe accomplished in his long term services of 5 years, besides help her buddies? Almost nothing excepts making troubles for Asians. Did Abenomics work? Did diamond value work? Did TPP work?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Japan has caused far less problems for the world, under Abe or not, than the Chinese dictatorship. Best clean your own house first.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What dictatorship? Abe will never be elected as a leader in China, his quality isn't there. Even if he would be elected by accident, he would be out in no more than one year if he could only inflate economy by 1%.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

mulanToday02:06 am JSTWhat dictatorship? Abe will never be elected as a leader in China

There are NO ELECTIONS in China. Nor are any other political parties besides the CCP allowed. That's because it is a one-party dictatorship.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

OssanAmericaToday05:49 am JST

mulanToday02:06 am JSTWhat dictatorship? Abe will never be elected as a leader in China

There are NO ELECTIONS in China. Nor are any other political parties besides the CCP allowed. That's because it is a one-party dictatorship.

Right, Abe and his cronies can only look on in envy and admiration.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

How can Japanese peoples trust PM Abe? However, poor Japanese voters have no other choice but vote for LDP again in next Election.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry on Wednesday released a manual for the country's new curriculum guidelines, asking junior high school teachers for the first time to have students understand procedures for constitutional revisions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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