Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo: AP file
politics

Abe damaged Japan's democracy, left legacy of power abuse, critics say

42 Comments
By Tomoyuki Tachikawa

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

© KYODO

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
Login to comment

Thank you very much for this article. There's really nothing to add.

23 ( +35 / -12 )

Finally (!)

What an article. Yes (!)

15 ( +27 / -12 )

Really? Where does all this "damaging democracy" nonsense come from. Seems to be the latest buzzword(s) for people who want to denigrate their political opponents.

People can still vote, can't they?

This "government source" is full of it.

-40 ( +8 / -48 )

Wakarimasen, don’t you take anything in? Abe was as corrupt as they come. Moritomo Gakuen mean nothing to you? One mid- level bureaucrat had to kill himself to take responsibility for Abe’s chicanery. Of course Abe denied any wrongdoing but it was so obvious he was knee deep in it.

19 ( +32 / -13 )

'The evil men do lives after them, the good is often interned with their bones.'

W S.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Nothing on cherry blossom party? The same organization which is arranging this week's funeral

13 ( +23 / -10 )

It's so refreshing to read the other side of Abe, and kudos for this journalist to have the courage to speak up and tell the public as it is. Wish he had said it earlier and more often when he was in power.

8 ( +19 / -11 )

Abe was a typical pollitician with the dirty scandals and all. But I agree, what did he do to erode democracy? Seems from this article that the opposition parties consider not being able to get their way as being un-democratic. That's not exactly how it works.

-15 ( +8 / -23 )

I applaud the writer for this article. Really courageous. Thank you for an honest and refreshing approach for something different

11 ( +21 / -10 )

Let’s not forget the whole “Beautiful Country” thing or that he essentially smothered a rape investigation of one of his compromise either.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Meh. A few grubby deals and interference in some appointments do not make "eroding democracy". Especially in Japan. This article is all opinion and innuendo.

-27 ( +6 / -33 )

@OssanAmerica

One way in which he eroded democracy was to institute government by decree. The so-called kakugi kettei meant that the cabinet decided what was going to happen, bypassing the diet and not allowing discussion.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Let’s not forget the whole “Beautiful Country” thing or that he essentially smothered a rape investigation of one of his compromise either.

I also remember the "we will make Japan a place where women shine" hilarity.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

He’ll be remembered for many negative things,not only corruption but for how suppressing free press and citizens privacy like the silly My Number thing or the law that allow the police to arrest someone even if just suspected.

To don’t mention how he made life harder to foreigners in Japan.

Even those with Japanese families.

The man left a dark legacy that will be very hard to undo.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

the party's electoral success can largely be attributed to the opposition bloc's inability to gain political traction.

Understatement of the generation here! The grass roots strength of the LDP, and the electorate being, generally speaking, unwilling to see their "LDP" candidate as a part of the overall problem, did more to keep the LDP in power as well.

The one time, in recent history, that the opposition actually won, was undercut in the follow up election, because of the local municipal and prefectural support for the LDP.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

People can still vote, can't they?

Yup, and that's why...

"Voters have responsibility" for making him the country's longest-serving prime minister, but he can be "accused of having eroded democracy" that Japanese people enjoyed until he came to power, said Otani, a former reporter for the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun, a strong voice of support for Abe and his government."

And voters are to blame for all the "elected" dictators" and the present worldwide plague of right-wing leaders voted into office since 1980. Italy's Meloni will be the latest addition to the basket of fruit and nuts. The only mitigating factor in blaming folks for voting so often against their own interests must be - they know not wot they vote for! (the Achilles heel of democracies?)

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Thank you, Japan Today, for running one of the best articles you have every published. There is no doubt now that Abe was corrupt, totalitarian and a disgrace, Sadly, it took his assassination to bring this to the forefront.

The death of Abe is not going to change anything unless people are willing to fight for the constitutional right.

The rotten LDP will execute the most expensive and ugly funeral ever concocted in present democratic times.

Japan will have a long way to go to live down Abe's funeral and the LDP's authoritarianism.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

And yet people kept voting for his party…

My theory is that a certain class of politicians have figured out that voter apathy is useful. If a significant portion of the electorate is made to feel that voting doesn’t matter, all you have to do is motivate your base to win and retain power. That’s my theory for Abe’s surprisingly long tenure, though I think it worked for constantly rotating LDP PMs before and after too…

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Abe and the LDP did and continue to do nothing except grease their own wheels.

Not much of a legacy.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

This story ….. or political hit job has a lot to unpack …. It’s better suited to be on the Onion…. Nearly everything is false , innuendo, or just whining !

On the diplomatic front, foreign policy direction was largely set by Abe's office, eventually causing Japan's relations with its neighbors China, Russia and South Korea to deteriorate significantly, they said.

Foreign policy should be set by the Prime Minister! Japans relations with South Korea didn’t deteriorate…. He stood firm that Japan wasn’t paying more money and he reaffirmed the former apology to the “comfort women.” That issue was resolved so many times and SK kept bringing it up outta nowhere every now and then! China ??? Really ??? Who who is the “they?” Quite vague ….

Political enemies???? The Conservative party had their chance …. And the voters booted them out of power …. Sorry losers …. It’s not anyones fault but their own that the voters went back to the LDP! Scandals ??? Regardless of the country…. Whoever’s in the hot seat is going to be accused of scandals and cronyism…. What crimes was Abe charged with ? None … he got re-elected … Covid ? Every world leader has done a horrendous job at handling the pandemic…. It still continues today ! Where were these “sources” hiding when Abe was alive and could answer to the lies ???

-19 ( +3 / -22 )

Sold himself for votes and cash. That's all he cared about. Didn't make a difference to him who the group was as long as they gave him $$$ and votes. No integrity or values at all. Sounds like it runs in the family.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

They should t single out Abe. He is no different to any other Japanese PM. It’s just that he was PM for so long that a lot of the poop stuck.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

AND His “Funeral” is more expensive that the Funeral for the Queen of England.

The guy is dead and he’s still blowing through our taxes like Monopoly money.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Abe was a terrible PM. Scandal ridden, war mongering, racist, nationalist, corrupt.

Anyone who liked or respected him is clearly deranged.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

""and abused his power for personal gain during his eight years as leader."" !!?

I don't know of any world leader or any leader that doesn't do the same.

Just give me the names of 2 or 3 and I will research it. Power abuse comes with the title some get caught and some don't and when they do they fix it and move on or become more BELLIGERENT.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Yep!

I am glad someone with a larger voice has said what many both in Japan and abroad have been saying and thinking for a longtime.

It would explain why so many top tier officials from abroad are skipping Abe's memorial service!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Not much character in people who wait till someone is dead, to criticize.

You'd think they'd keep it zipped till after the funeral.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Wow, picking on a defenseless dead man!

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Abe was the worst prime minister since Nakasone. And Nakasone is treated as a national hero, even he has done more damage to the Japanese economy than anybody before and after - Nakasone that is.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

blue in greenToday  08:20 pm JST

Not much character in people who wait till someone is dead, to criticize.

You'd think they'd keep it zipped till after the funeral.

Bwahaha!! As if the timing of the funeral has anything to do with it! Besides, the funeral should've been two months ago!

I and many others have been criticizing him ever since he entered office. He was morally void, with zero integrity. All about the cash grab, that's it.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I and many others have been criticizing him ever since he entered office. He was morally void, with zero integrity. All about the cash grab, that's it.

Not to mention he was an opportunist and a history revisionist, his purpose was also to rebrand his grandfather who was a known war criminal. The apple did not fall too far from the tree in terms of criminality. Aso is no different.

When the going got tough, Abe got tummy aches and would quit until the people forgot about the previous scandal.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The AvengerToday  07:18 pm JST

And yet people kept voting for his party…

My theory is that a certain class of politicians have figured out that voter apathy is useful. If a significant portion of the electorate is made to feel that voting doesn’t matter, all you have to do is motivate your base to win and retain power. That’s my theory for Abe’s surprisingly long tenure, though I think it worked for constantly rotating LDP PMs before and after too…

Not just motivate the base but keep it disproportionately powerful by neglecting re-districting and leave it with loopholes to keep funnelling cash through to dynastic LDP oligarchs.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This article nailed it.

Abe's anti democratic nonsense should never be forgotten. I remember the thousands and thousands of protestors demonstrating against his constitutional plans, and he had the nerve to tell the whole population that we're wrong for thinking what we do, that we require "more education".

He was not a good guy, the article captures it well.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Indeed, Abe made bad situation worse with his Abenomics, whose crippling debt blocked Bank of Japan from raising the interest rates while everyone else is at this very moment.

Japan's enemies China and Korea thank Abe because he left Japan weaker.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why are we blaming Abe when over and over - it was the Japanese people who supported this?

They keep voting in the LDP each election.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Abe was a hopeless money sucking joke…!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Conservative party had their chance ….

Right, so why should anyone pay much attention to your comments when you don't know the name of the party in power from 2009 to 2012.

THe party in power from 2009 to 2012 certainly wasnt the "conservative" party!

The LDP IS the conservative party, so I wonder what party they are referring to!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

travelbangaijinToday  12:08 am JST

Why are we blaming Abe when over and over - it was the Japanese people who supported this?

They keep voting in the LDP each election.

That's the thing - they don't. Thanks to the messed-up election system though, the LDP keep winning with about a quarter of the electorate voting for them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thank you for this article. For those questioning the erosion of democracy, just look at one of the first things he did when he returned to the top job. He immediately stacked the NHK board with cronies in order to control any criticism of him or his government. That’s the public broadcaster! And that’s cronyism at best, authoritarianism at worst. He also manoeuvred the silencing of critics from other networks as well, namely Ichiro Furitachi from TV Asahi’s Hodo Station, Shigetada Kishii from TBS’ News 23, and Hiroko Kuniya from Close-Up Gendai.

He was as authoritarian as you get.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Abe damaged Japan's democracy, left legacy of power abuse, critics say

The Futenma issue in Okinawa exemplifies it most conspicuously.

His government kept saying there was no alternative to the current plan to relocate Futenma's facilities to Henoko. But Futenma can be closed now and forever without undermining deterrence. Why didn't the Abe government pursue this line? It's because Henoko relocation was Washington's fixed decision from the very beginning and he couldn't say no to it.

Henoko sit-ins against the relocation marked 3,000 days May 25, according to local newspapers, and yet the landfill work in Henoko is being forged ahead, which Abe had originally sanctioned in sympathy with the U.S. government and in complete disregard of Okinawa's strong opposition to it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hello Kitty 321Sep. 26  06:23 pm JST

@OssanAmerica

One way in which he eroded democracy was to institute government by decree. The so-called kakugi kettei meant that the cabinet decided what was going to happen, bypassing the diet and not allowing discussion.

You call that eroding democracy? Many countries carry out cabinet decision making without full debate on every concievable issue. The US is not one of them. But I believe the UK is. This article makes it sound like Abe turned Japan into an autocratic state, which is ridiculous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OssanAmericaSep. 26  05:48 pm JST

Seems from this article that the opposition parties consider not being able to get their way as being un-democratic. That's not exactly how it works.

Hm. Except that all the critics of Abe mentioned in the article are government sources, a novelist and a journalist. There is nothing at all about opposition parties.

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