politics

Critics ask if Abe learnt from mistakes when he was PM

31 Comments
By Linda Sieg and Leika Kihara

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31 Comments
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Give Abe one more chance to learn abc :(

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I'll never forget how he lost confidence. All 6 of them. Coming like kings and finishing after a year. Too short.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tum-tums will be as useless as last time. Keep Noda and his guys in. Japan needs some stability.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Continue to believe success of Abe will be determined by the people he appoints. Main reason for his failure the last time was that his team consisted of his closest of friends and those who supported him in the election, the likes of Shiozaki et al who were either criticized for the scandals they were involved with or for their simple lack of competence. Second reason is that he could not properly balance the succession of Koizumi's policies with the introduction of his own. Most prominent example is his decision to invite back those former LDP members who left the party going against Koizumi's postal privatization policy. Believe that truly made his direction unclear in the eyes of many. Koizumi's remarkable success in the lower house election attributed to the clarity of his policies while successor Abe's miserable failure in the upper house election which eventually led to his resignation attributed to the lack thereof. First critical step for Abe this time round is to choose the right people to manage the government who can truly represent and execute the expected clarity in the new policies he will bring forth under utmost integrity and professionalism.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

alliswellinjapa nNov. 16, 2012 - 08:51AM JST First critical step for Abe this time round is to choose the right people to manage the government who can truly represent and execute the expected clarity in the new policies he will bring forth under utmost integrity and professionalism.

Ever wonder why none of the challenges ever gets tackled? Could it be that Japan's leaders spend so much time trying to keep their jobs that they have little time to actually do them? Japan should give its PM a chance. Give the next one, say, two years or more to articulate a vision and implement it. As things stand now, leaders have no incentive to take bold steps for fear of losing public support. Taking that risk out of the equation would give Japan’s leader a fighting chance for the first time in ages.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sure, he's learnt all that's old can be new again... until it's old again.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Abe san is just a coddled rich boy grown up to be half a man he should have become. He'll bottle it in the middle of heat. As I understood from his last PM job, he'd never gone through rocky hard places of life. Someone else had cleared them for him. Gordon Brown, who was as unpopular as Abe, had more guts to see his term out.

Nationalist? It's like a rich school boy trying to look bad on a motorbike that his parents bought for him.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

“Let’s hope that once he becomes PM again, realism will trump ideology.”

I think that's asking a bit much of a Japanese PM.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

sfjp330: Agree we should patiently allow sufficient time for the PM to focus on his job, which is why the LDP has the maximum term of 6 yrs. While each of the recent PMs have had their own reasons for why they had to resign only after an average 1yr of premiership, the recent continuation of resignations at the DPJ in my view has by and large had to do with the fundamental issue of creating an impractical manifesto mainly to win the hearts of the voters and secure their victory. On the LDP front, Abe's successor Fukuda had to resign as the only way to resist US pressure of sending the SDF to Afghanistan and provide funds to rescue major US financial institutions at the time prior to the Lehman shock. This time round Abe has a better chance of ensuring a much more stable premiership if he can win both the upcoming lower house and next year's upper house through showing that his team can do their job right as soon as he gains power. All the more why believe it is critical that he chooses the right people without overly being influenced by internal politics or personal relations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, if he doesn't work out he can always try again a few months later at the next election.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Repealing the sales tax and the ensuing downgrade will have long term repercussions for the young generations coming through, making inflation at three percent is quite standard for economies like New Zealand and Australia. This will force domestic consumption as cash will become tash if held and the lower yen will boost export receipts. Clearly his advisors should be strongly recommending the latter and the cost of foreign investment which not really appreciated in japan anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Abe is obsessed with changing the constitution to allow conscription, reviving the military and getting revenge on behalf of his war-criminal relatives.

Forcing the Yen down in value should complete my impoverishment after years of pay cuts. It won't help exports much either if Abe antagonises the neighbours with his arrogant statements of "no regret" for what was done to them in the past.

Hopefully he won't get a majority and will have to compromise, otherwise it looks like a gloomy new year.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Truth is that Abe will represent continuity from Noda on most counts.

Noda has been borrowing LDP policies since he came in - but he and the DPJ cannot remain in power without a democratic mandate that they are about to lose.

I personally would like to see change - another shot at actually implementing the 2009 DPJ manifesto. People who want stability however - you have it with Abe coming back.

A lot of people screamed about him as a hawk when he replaced Koizumi, but none of that materialized. He will be like Noda, a right leaning pragmatic servant of the bureacracy. It is a mistake to presume he is idealistic in any way other than the occasional meaningless soundbyte.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Abe has given little cause for optimism since taking over again as head of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Abe has no hope because the ideas are dictacted from Party bosses and they are often more powerful than the prime ministers job. And, if Abe has given little hope than the whole LDP group has no goodness.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Critics ask if Abe learnt from mistakes when he was PM

A better question to ask would be whether or not the LDP learned from its mistakes... I'm shocked that the re-elected him as party president (and by default most likely the next prime minister).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hikozaemon: Agree Abe is not going to be overly idealistic this time round. Don't think he will ever think about bringing back that "Beautiful Japan" catch copy he used the last time. Good thing about Abe is the distance he seems to maintain with the MOF unlike Noda who many view as their puppet. If he can effectively control the MOF as Koizumi did to some extent while strengthening the strategic planning and development functions of the government again through choosing the right people believe there to be some room for optimism. Easier said than done however, as Abe too will face similar internal challenges Noda faced in running a huge organization where not everyone is looking at and moving in the same direction. Koizumi and Hashimoto have proven that the only way out of this systematic complexity which only benefits the bureaucrats is to identify clear targets as the resisting force ie teiko seiryoku for each and every political initiative that needs to be pushed through to gain public support and backing thereby incentivizing the majority of the politicians to go along with his agenda. Abe needs to seriously think about using similar tactics otherwise he is liable to easily become one of those to be drowned by internal and bureaucrat politics and weakened by end of the usual 1 yr term.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CRITICS: Well, Mr Abe, did you learn from your past mistakes?

MR ABE: What mistakes?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why in Japan don't former PMs fade into the background where they below? Abe, you've had your term, you were shite. MOVE ON!

My tummy hurts....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hikozaemon - i agree with your prediction about how Abe will probably turn out once he is in a PM`s chair. I also have to say I have lost pretty much all hope for any meaningful government driven change in Japan in the short term...the bureaucracy has proved it is too powerful and too efficient at getting rid of politicians it perceives as a threat and able to push forward a reform agenda- as evidenced by Ozawa,s downfall. Until Japan is truly at the very edge of its own financial cliff , ready to fall down or moer likely already falling - no meaningful reform ( apart from some window dressing ) will take place in this country regardless of who is in power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Abe is already showing that he would be a flawed PM. He wants to restart the nuclear power plants throughout the country (apparently without listening to the people's viewpoints) and wants to stimulate the economy. I see both of these routes as leading to more under-the-table dealings with more money flowing into the LDP politicians' pockets. The LDP is hungry for money ... and Abe's ideas open up all kinds of possibilities for them to make more financial grabs. Also, the LDP has been rather vague on Japan's joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade program ... and now suddenly Abe is saying that under his leadership Japan will join in the talks if the LDP regains power. After what this corrupt party did during its last 10 years in power, I feel that something fishy would be going on with him overseeing the TPP picture. Sorry, but I see more mistakes coming from Abe's direction if he becomes PM ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The naivete of folks here is truly amazing. Folks: It doesn't matter who is PM of Japan!

Don't people know that the ministries, in cahoots with industry and industrial groups like the Keidanren, control Japan? The ministries decide on the budget and the Diet rubber stamps it. Furthermore, the ministries write about 90% of the laws in Japan. The fact is, Japan doesn't have a democratic government. They are ruled by an unelected and unaccountable coalition of ministries, who work hand-in-glove with industry to line their own pockets. It doesn't matter if AKB48 were chosen as "group prime minsters"! Japan wouldn't change (well, the government would be easier to look at, but...).

It should be noted that even among the ministries, there is no true power center of Japan - power is shared across several ministries. Why do you think they couldn't respond effectively to the crisis at Fukushima Dai-Ichi? People, please read Karel van Wolferen's "The Enigma of Japanese Power."

0 ( +4 / -4 )

japan looking good, loads of little parties springing up,old geriatrics trying to create a strong and morally correct japan, a quasi fascist looking like he will head the largest party.....and as they squabble amongst themselves the country will go down the tubes.I would despair for the younger generation but they dont seem to care or even know how to care....going to be like watching a bus crash pity it looks like Im on the bus.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frank Rizzo: You sound like a typical cynical Japanese who say they are indifferent to politics and elections for the exact reasons you raise. Agree there to have traditionally been the "iron triangle" very systematic in nature which Wolferen and many others inside and outside Japan have pointed out decades ago. But times have changed and we all know the system is no longer productive most certainly from a GDP perspective. We collectively agree the game plan needs to change, incl those within the triangle (note the "triangle" terminology itself is not even being used anymore). But agree the implementation of the systematic changes required have essentially remained slow and gradual at best, for the simple reason being that the LDP was never able to produce their own version of Gorbachev who can break the systematic triangle from within (note Koizumi declared he will destroy the LDP which won the hearts of many, but what he actually meant was that he was going to destroy the former Tanaka fraction and not much beyond that). It was only natural for people to initially hold high hopes for DPJ whose manifesto seemed to suggest they are going to seriously tackle the systematic issue as one tightly organized major alternative force, which they unfortunately never turned out to be. Now we have Hashimoto who many may want to pin their hopes on as possibly that long awaited someone primarily judging from his proven track record in confronting and tackling the system in Osaka. Meanwhile Abe really needs to show and prove he and the LDP is coming back new and improved after learning from the failure of his initial premiership and the party's consecutive defeats in upper and lower houses during his and Aso's time. All in all really hope this upcoming election can prove you and many other cynists in Japan wrong as the country no longer has the luxury to sneer at politics as usual without even bothering to vote.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Abe has called for extreme steps by the Bank of Japan to lift the economy out of years of deflation

such as printing unlimited yen

Ha ha ha! Abe looks stupid - but I didn't realise he was this stupid! Inflation here we come! Dunno about you guys but I will be transferring all of my remaining currency out of Japan and into Australia before years end - the yen (and Japanese economy) will become a laughing stock once Abe has the reigns!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Frank Rizzo: I apologize if I have offended you somehow. My intention was not to criticize you for your indifference to voting despite your lack of voting rights but rather in pointing out the similarities seen between your views with those which have commonly been expressed by many here for decades most typically used as an excuse for their indifference to politics and voting. Neither was it my intention to dispute the degree of power and influence of the bureaucrats here particularly as I believe this to already be a given and what most if not all of the politicians here already agree on. Wolferen's books were already a top seller here in the last century and believe we have moved beyond the phase of indifference and cynicism simply sneering at the systematic implications, primarily because Japan no longer has the luxury to remain at that phase. The new phase we have hopefully entered into is the phase of carefully assessing and choosing the right politicians who can actually carry out their words, knowing their political agenda are no longer strikingly different from one another save specific details or order of priorities (eg tax hike vs stimulus). Hope you thus understand why I could not help but point out the obsolete and unproductive nature of your remarks. Thank you by the way for pointing out my grammatical error. I stand corrected.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh come now! A Japanese politician learning from his mistakes? Hee, hee, hee.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Frank Rizzo-san,

You are quite correct.

The civil service (and a few "advisors") tell the politicians what to say and do.

There was an excellent situation comedy on British TV called, "Yes, Minister," and the sequel, "Yes, Prime Minister." I wonder if you know these programs. They were most entertaining.

Yours was the exact point these series made. And the sneaky, underhanded way the guys from the ministries directed the PM and other politicians was superb.

I'm sure it was really true to life.

So much so that this kind of a comedy series would never appear on Japanese TV.

Too close to the bone!

But it wish there were something like this on Japanese TV. People in this country need to come out of their dream and realise what's going on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

" Why yes, young j-citizen. I definitely should have lied more. "

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just when you thought J politics couldn't get any worse ... the LDP along with one of their worst fly-by-night PMs are getting ready to step back into power. People who continue to vote for these incompetent fools must be gluttons for punishment. That being said, there is a dearth of leadership anywhere in Japan. Short of a revolution on the scale of the Meiji Restoration I can't see any party or person pulling J politics out of the corrupt quagmire it is in. Look forward to more of the same!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frank RizzoNov. 16, 2012 - 03:43PM JST

The naivete of folks here is truly amazing. Folks: It doesn't matter who is PM of Japan!

Don't people know that the ministries, in cahoots with industry and industrial groups like the Keidanren, control Japan? The ministries decide on the budget and the Diet rubber stamps it. Furthermore, the ministries write about 90% of the laws in Japan. The fact is, Japan doesn't have a democratic government. They are ruled by an unelected and unaccountable coalition of ministries, who work hand-in-glove with industry to line their own pockets. It doesn't matter if AKB48 were chosen as "group prime minsters"! Japan wouldn't change (well, the government would be easier to look at, but...).

Frank, I agree. When I think about it seriously, I just feel very bad for everyone in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Frank Rizzo-san,

The fact is, Japan doesn't have a democratic government.

True. But I wonder where you could find such a thing these days? Does anywhere have a democratic government?

Democracy originated in ancient Greece. People would vote by scratching on broken pieces of pottery. Although we say it was Greece, this was not a country 2,000 years ago, it was a loose collection of city states, Athens, Sparta, Troy and so on. Athens is generally regarded as the actual birthplace of democracy. At this time, Athens consisted of a few thousand people. In a "country" of a few thousand people, it is possible for people to know the people they are voting for. In a country of 300,000,000, on the other hand, who knows who they are voting for? They only have the image of the person that they are presented with through the media of newsprint, the internet and TV.

Who really knows Abe, for example?

How many people really know this person?

We only have the image presented through the media.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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