politics

Abe's agenda challenged as scandals mount

43 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
Login to comment

It seems to me that Abe's problems began when he decided to abolish his first cabinet in order to pass off the honorific titles of "daijin" (cabinet minister) to women who really were not in line for these positions in a way, traditionally speaking. This ticked off a lot of old timers who felt they deserved the titles in the second cabinet or even more the old timers who felt robbed of their positions because Abe wanted to up his own image by placating to the women voters by putting more of their kind in his new cabinet. My extra sensory perception tells me that this recent ruckus and commotion was intentionally set off by a disgruntled old timer in his first cabinet who had enough time in the Liberal Democratic to gather information on those who had skeletons hidden or had dirty laundry in their closets. Either this old timer was dropped or was given a lesser position in order to reduce his strength in the party. Need I say more as to who I suspect? Ishiba?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

@mitokomonalex,

Or just someone who was annoyed that he was appointing women at all, and possibly grooming one of them to be the next PM. Most likely someone in the DPP, to be honest, if there are strings being pulled.

I don't think these scandals are enough to bring down Abe's government, anyway. Significant, perhaps, but nowhere near fatal.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There is no real oversite on these "Special" people, any of us try these shenanigans we would be sacked or charged and prosecuted. I curse my family for not entering politics. I might have been "Special" and above standards that we ordinary people are held up to. If only I was the ofspring of one of these people my head could also be ear deep in a trough of tax payer money with no care in the world.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Mintokomonalex: So you think the root of all Abe's problems were caused by him appointing women? The root problem stems from the usually excepted, corruption by politicians and their actions. What motivates someone to point out those illegal actions is NOT the cause of the problem.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Get out already, you obviously got these guys in there as the fall guys and paid them out so you could quit without it looking like you failed.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Wonder if ALL politicans have shady financial skeletons in their closets. Seems that quite often when a politician is given a chushy ministerial position, somebody uncovers some illegal doings in his/her background. Why wait until a politician becomes a minister to do the scumbag searches. Do it to ALL politicians now ... and see how many are either hiding illegal maneuvers or are hoping nobody uncovers misdeeds they have done in the past.

Abe had better get his whisk broom out and start cleaning house ...

Of course, we all know that if Abe were to do this, there'd be very few politicians left ... especially in his very own Jiminto party ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe seems, in this second time around, he'd rather see the ship go down in flames than let someone else take the helm and steer it out of dangerous waters.

Boggles the mind he was given control a second time, personally, because he was ill-equipped the first time and I don't know what epiphany other politicians felt he had so they could vote him in again.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is politicians and politics, corrupt as they are they are all the same.

Abe should make full disclosure by his ministers a requirement, they should all be fully vetted, investigated and audited then and only then they should be appointed a cabinet post.

It would not matter which group was in govt they are all rotten .

This Aso character is a whole pile of dirt on his own and to think he is running tax payers money through mahjong parlours while he sits on the riches his family made off the back of slave labour during the war years is utterly disgusting, this entitled pig should be no where near govt. EVER, let alone frittering tax payers money away gambling.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Mintokomonalex - As much as we like to imagine, not all politics is like House of Cards. It was obviously a strategic move by the opposition at an opportune moment. Although the opposition can't seriously challenge Abe's party atm, that doesn't mean that they're just sitting back and sleeping.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What motivates someone to point out those illegal actions is NOT the cause of the problem.

Oh really? So am I correct in assuming that you believe handing out paper fans and visiting a bar (to the tune of $200) are serious "problems" worthy of consideration? Laughable.

The opposition is grasping at straws. They are in full blown panic mode because they see that Mr Abe is being successful, and that he is popular. So they resort to the kind of cheap political gamesmanship that would be more appropriate in an election campaign for junior high class president.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Now that Abe's administration has been throwing up these scandals, his “Japan is back!” sounds in a totally different meaning.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

hidingout - the ldp are the masters of "cheap political gamesmanship" and have used it to full advantage to rule the country for the best part of 6 decades. Research and you'll stuff in abundance.

The ldp's relentless attacking after losing power over minor bits of fluff was puerile in the least.

I'm all for sticking it to them - no sympathy from me for gilded spooners set up for life's calling.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They are in full blown panic mode because they see that Mr Abe is being successful, and that he is popular.

Success? What success? And he's popular? Abe himself has admitted the LDP only won the 2012 election because the DPJ were so useless. It wasn't a reflection of his 'popularity' at all. He's a useless loser who would never have got a second chance at becoming Prime Minister had there been anyone else less charmless and mediocre in the running for the job.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I just don't like Abe at all. Anything that makes him look bad or hinders his policy is a good news for me.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Hidingout: I already mentioned (in a previous article) that giving out paper fans is nowhere nearly as serious as what these two have done. Are you trying to say that what they did was legal? All politicians are corrupt and will gladly step on one another to climb their way to the top, but that doesn't change the facts of what was done. The problem is excepted corruption and the ones who appoint them, while knowing how they got there. You seem to think that exposing the truth is the root problem in politics, lol. Please explain how Abe has been soo successful for Japan or maybe show us his present approval ratings.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Perhaps Japanese people should vote with envelopes stuffed with cash, who gets the most wins, some of you might say this is the case now but by making it legal there might be another 6 decades of The LDP (Politbeaurou) control endorsed not just by big business but Mr Mrs Average.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s honeymoon with Japan’s voters is fading as scandals and a slowing economic recovery take a toll on his popularity and hinder progress on his policy agenda.”

Elaine Kurtenbach’s opening statement above really nailed it.

As the matter of fact, Abe’s trouble could be just beginning as the scandals surfaced with his highly-fly reshuffled cabinet are deepening while so promised “Japan-is-back” turn cold as old joke.

For people who still lives in a parallel universe in terms of Abe’s leadership, a piece of unsolicited advise: maybe it’s time to look at Abe in a different light for his nationalistic agenda and much hyped Abenomics.

I will not be surprised that in medium term, a new elected PM will eventually reverse the major parts of the policies imposed by Abe’s adm and undone some of the damages that caused by Abe Shinzo Abe’s years in the office.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Those reports got people digging into the riches to be found in publicly available political funding disclosures. They show some lawmakers spending hundreds of thousands of yen a night on visits to restaurants and mahjong parlors, while ordinary households are struggling to keep up with rising costs for food, heating and other necessities.

As I have said many times here, this should not come as a surprise to anyone. When about 40% of the Diet members are second and third-generation politicians, they start to feel a sense of entitlement. It is a career for them that has NOTHING at all to do with public service. Japan's political sytem is broken, and no person or party has the guts to fix it, since they are all getting rich off of it, and the backs of the taxpayers and big donors/special interests.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Don't they vet these people before they appoint them? Or is corruption so widespread that the pols just think it's business as usual? But then again, giving away 80 yen fans and then having somebody say you've given away valuable incentives - it's getting a little deep in here....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I bet the amounts mentioned in spending party/public money are ridiculous peanuts vs. the entertainment politicians get from influencial corporates to get their favours. Basically said: corruption.

I strongly believe these few yen spent are just one more drinks misclaimed after the "official" parties.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Success? What success?

Japan was in a right mess after the leftist coalition government. Abe has provided much needed stability. Instituted necessary increase in sales tax. Stock market is at levels unseen in a decade. Unemployment is at near record lows. He signed the Child Abduction treaty. Built up a decent relationship with Russia. Has opened the door with DPRK regarding the abduction issue. He doesn't take shit off the commies. There have been more than a few successes if you care to notice them.

And he's popular?

Prior to these flimsy "scandals" he had 60%+ approval ratings. Unheard of for a mid-term PM in Japan since the days of Koizumi. So yeah, he's popular. Of course he's not popular with left-leaning gaijin on JT. But I doubt he spends much time worrying about that.

the ldp are the masters of "cheap political gamesmanship" and have used it to full advantage to rule the country for the best part of 6 decades.

Its a fair point. The LDP are just as bad at playing the made up scandal game as anyone else. I don't deny that. Doesn't change the fact that trying to bring criminal charges for passing out paper fans is a shameful waste of the governments time. About as useful as complaining because someone wore a scarf on the floor of the Diet. Anyone judging Abe's administration based on the likes of these types of "scandals" is most likely someone who never liked Abe or the LDP in the first place and is just looking for an excuse to complain about them.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Business as usual for the LDP. This is the way they've always been and hopefully the public will see why they tried to get rid of them in the first place. Wishful thinking but I'm not holding my breath. What the heck, we've got the Olympics right? Does Abe have a tummy ache yet? Yippee Kai Yay MF!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

'Japan's political sytem is broken'

I don't think 'broken' is the right word. What was there to break? The Japanese government is the LDP ( with a couple of brief intermissions in over half a century ). Abe will be forced out//resign and another well-connected LDP member will replace him. Nothing is broken. This is perfectly normal.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

hidingout:

Stock market is at levels unseen in a decade.

With regards to international FOREX, the stock market has not changed that much. Just the local share holders got reacher in Japan while Joe Tanaka must pay more for imported goods.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan was in a right mess after the leftist coalition government. Abe has provided much needed stability. Instituted necessary increase in sales tax.

The sales tax increase that the leftist coalition government advocated? It's done very little good to anyone, especially given the LDP's chronic addiction to big government style stimulus spending.

Stock market is at levels unseen in a decade.

Who cares about that except a few rich people and company presidents who are still not raising salaries?

Unemployment is at near record lows.

So what? It could just mean less registered unemployed people or more temporary contract workers barely making the minimum wage.

He signed the Child Abduction treaty. Built up a decent relationship with Russia. Has opened the door with DPRK regarding the abduction issue.

Window dressing. Nothing more. Doesn't make a difference to most peoples' lives one way or the other.

He doesn't take shit off the commies.

If that's the case he can clearly do no wrong, can he?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It appears the man and his group are corrupt. Why were they given power again? It stinks like internal politics of insiders, ripping off the Decent Folk.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why were they given power again?

Three years of utter incompetence on the part of the DPJ, who richly deserved to lose most of their Diet seats.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Few things off about this article - economy contracted an ANNUALIZED 7.1%, not 7.1% total. Big difference.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Politicians pick on the most trivial things to attack each other, so long they scale well on the scandal factor. But that's really not so important. It's all partisan politics. It's Abe's grand strategies they should attack: militarism, nationalism and "growth" through inflation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's right, Mister Abe, give China everything it wants, concession after concession, until he gives you nothing in return but a handshake, making you his lapdog in Beijing during APEC. You're an embarrassment to your ancestors.

Despite all Japan’s high-level emissaries and concessions, including Abe’s unspoken acknowledgment of the Yasukuni Shrine issue, which he has not revisited since last year (failing to honor his war dead with nothing more than a wreath and without his presence), China has given no public indication as to whether Xi will agree to meet with Abe. It could be that Beijing is holding out on the remaining issue of a more formal acceptance and apology from Tokyo for Japan’s colonial past. It would be difficult for Abe to concede that without being able to expect more from the meeting than just a smile and a handshake. Alternatively, Beijing could just be waiting until closer to the actual event, so as not to stir up unnecessary domestic anger from its more nationalist elements.

Yes, Japan is slowly becoming Chinese territory. Your war dead died for nothing. America spent billions on you for nothing. Your citizens are soon to be less than nothing.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The company I work for still isn't raising salaries. What gives, lol.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Hiding out - while you make much of Abe's glowing report card over the past couple of years, he had a lot to work on didn't he? The ailments of Japan were brought on not by an acknowledged sloppy DLP, but the very same party Abe presides over - the gob-smackingly incestuous LDP with all it's pockets of vested interests festering over the decades.

Japan didn't suddenly fail when DLP took power ( blundering naivety and arguably the greatest natural disaster in modern history surely aided the confusion), but the die was cast long long ago. Abe and his minions are just faithfully carrying on the work of their predecessors.

And the greatest problem to deal with, while not directly LDP's cause - the ongoing Tohoku calamity - is a sad sad indictment of the inadequacies of Abe co.and how collusion clouds clarity.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's Abe's grand strategies they should attack: militarism, nationalism and "growth" through inflation.

A bit tricky that, as I suspect the biggest opposition parties are full of people who more or less support them. This is also, I think, where the whole money-politics thing becomes a problem. It looks to me like a lot of veteran politicians are beholden to rich constituents for donations to their personal political organisations or local party chapters, and therefore feel a greater need to represent whatever views they have rather than follow any main party line. The end result is a hodgepodge of corrupt, depraved and stupid old men in power who can't achieve anything at all.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

With regards to international FOREX, the stock market has not changed that much. Just the local share holders got reacher in Japan

J-gov has no control over things like FOREX. That gets manipulated by countries far more powerful than Japan. The Japanese stock market has done extremely well since Mr Abe came to power. Its like night and day. And yeah, "the local share holders got richer in Japan". Isn't that kind of the point? If the stock market had been doing badly you can bet all the LDP haters on this site would be trumpeting that as a factor in Abe's "failure". So why not give him some credit for the solid returns Japanese investors are enjoying?

while Joe Tanaka must pay more for imported goods.

Cry me a river. Japan has gone from one of the most expensive countries in the world to one of the most affordable countries over the last twenty some years. Joe Tanaka should be paying more.

The sales tax increase that the leftist coalition government advocated? It's done very little good to anyone

Yeah, the sales tax that the leftist coalition government was going to squander by handing out money to the poor willy nilly in the form of child credit payments and social welfare. You say the tax increase has done "very little good". How do you know that? Please share with the board the breakdown on how the LDP has put those funds to work. I'm just common folk, so I'm not privy to that sort of information. Face it, the sales tax increase was necessary to bring Japan into line with tax levels in other developed nations.

Who cares about that except a few rich people

Spoken like someone who didn't have the stones to invest in Japan. Anyone, rich or middle class, could have made money on this stock market. Your characterization of the gainers as a "few rich people" is false. Oh well, when you miss the chance, don't expect me to feel sorry for you when you come on JT crying about a "few rich people".

It could just mean less registered unemployed people or more temporary contract workers barely making the minimum wage

Right. Better that they have no job at all and just collect welfare payments from the leftist coalition government. Amirite? Look, the ratio of job postings to applicants is at the most favorable levels I've seen in at least ten years. That's a fact. Why is it so hard for you to acknowledge some progress here?

Window dressing. Nothing more.

Again, you seem to have information that the rest of us don't have. I recall the overwhelming majority of socialists on this site declaring that Abe would never sign the treaty. As soon as he made it a priority and signed it quickly, the chorus turns to "window dressing". Pitiful.

If that's the case he can clearly do no wrong, can he?

Never said that. But at least his stance is better than the grovelling capitulation we saw from goofs like Hatoyama.

Three years of utter incompetence on the part of the DPJ, who richly deserved to lose most of their Diet seats.

Well, at least we agree on that. The LDP is the only party in Japan with the accumulated brain power qualified to run the country. Until a viable alternative appears, we are all better off with the LDP.

The ailments of Japan were brought on not by an acknowledged sloppy DLP, but the very same party Abe presides over - the gob-smackingly incestuous LDP with all it's pockets of vested interests festering over the decades.

Or maybe, the world financial collapse had something to do with it? Ya think?

Look the LDP makes mistakes like any government. But they are the best of what we've got to work with. I hope I never see another DPJ government as long as I live.

.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

The LDP is the only party in Japan with the accumulated brain power qualified to run the country. Until a viable alternative appears, we are all better off with the LDP.

A surprising comment from someone who does not even seem to know what the LDP plans to do with the tax revenue that is preferable to the DPJ's welfare handouts. The LDP don't even have the brainpower to manage the finances in their own political organisations, let alone run the country - although obviously the DPJ are just as bad at it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hidingout - the world financial collapse impacted the world not just Japan.

And I see little connection between world financial collapse and gross nepotism, cronyism, pork-barrelling et al.

eg The shocking mismanagement of the Pension Fund - almost too ridiculous to believe. Construction industry run amok operating as a private govt within the govt. The farcical monitoring of the Power Industry esp nuclear. The failure to establish long term workable education goals for 21st c (flip flop every few years)???

etc etc etc

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm surprised Abe had any popularity to begin with. Finally people are waking up to this nutcase. Hopefully we'll see him gone soon

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can sum up all politics and elections by quoting the most astute political philosopher of the 20th Century:

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Pray we don't get fooled again. Roger Daltry

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For people who are not aware: Given current Japan’s economic data, it’s almost curtain that Japan’s 2% inflation rate will not happen on time.

As BOJ’s inflation target is going to be missed on the preset deadline, more misery will be added to Mr. Shinzo Abe’s already piled plate.

As a direct result, Abe will be become one of many unavoidable political casualties whom would be conveniently served as the sacrificial lambs since there are plenty of blames to go around.

A possible scenario might be that Abe could still hand in there for a while, but spend tons of his time to dodge the bullets fired from all the directions including members of his own party –LDP.

As usual, someone has to be “credited” for the failures in Japan’s political scene, who else would be better than the self-crowned Japanese number-one salesman ? The point is that Abe is already a damaged good at this point, the worse is that there is little he can do, it;s take-it or leave-it case.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Politics aside, Mr. Abe never looks a figure of good health. If his health again forces him to step down, Aso is waiting in the wings ready to make a comeback to the top job!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Abe seems to be looking heavenward for guidance. Well, there won't be any coming for this disaster of a leader

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If his health again forces him to step down, Aso is waiting in the wings ready to make a comeback to the top job!

If it weren't for Aso's own mah-jong scandal I'd almost be inclined to agree. I've noticed that losers often get second chances in Japanese politics. For instance, the DPJ politician who lost his seat near where I live is clearly going to be the party candidate in the next election as he still has his dopey loser face all over campaign posters everywhere. It was the same with the LDP old timer he replaced in 2009 who is now back in the Diet. I find it hard to fathom.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe's agenda challenged as scandals mount

I appreciate all good posts here listed above.

Then who will be your next leader of Japan if not by Abe? That's a true challenge for you. You guys are churning leaders like hot potatoes, that's why nothing has been done. Are there any ethical politicians left in Japan? Most of them smells like a rotten fish in suits. They are not policy makers. Instead, they are acting like a bunch of school children. No dignity, no shame.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites