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Is Shinzo Abe doing a good job as prime minister of Japan?

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He was bad the first time around, worse this time around.

I hate seeing him ruin the country I love.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Abe is the worst thing to happen to Japan in a long time. He's a kamikaze pilot hurtling to the ground in a blaze of glory.

This wouldn't be so bad, but there are 100,000,000 passengers on his plane, most of whom are blissfully ignorant of what is about to happen.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Since he came to power my income has plummeted, the comfort women bone of contention has returned, foreign policy is a mess, progress in Tohoku is virtually at a standstill, 'under control' Fukushima goes on without end and there is talk of restarting some of the other nuclear plants. Hey but we got the Olympics.

So on a scale of 1(Poor) to 5 (good), Abe and the LDP rate around minus 5.

I originally thought minus 10, but Article 9 hasn't been scrapped yet and we aren't actually at war with anyone. Yet.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Difficult to sum up in just a few sentences. Not very good overall.

Gets an E for foreign policy. Nothing can be gained by trying to bait China while at the same time alienating allies. Gets a D for nuclear policy and recovery efforts. Still too many people living in sheds in the Tohoku Region. Has not gained control of the situation up north (despite his Olympics spiel). Also in denial with regard to atomic power. A lot of people want a more serious debate of the issues, not just a "back to business" attitude. Gets a D for industrial policy. Not enough vision with regard to organizing the troops (business in Japan) and putting research to work. Gets a C- for economic policy. Talking down the yen has been good. Increasing business confidence has been good. However, still to achieve real results. Again in denial if he believes that the sales tax hike will not have a negative impact. If he was serious about economic reform, he would bite the bullet on structural issues. Not going to happen. Gets a D for democracy as well. The new Secrets Act is not conducive to openness in government.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The 3% consumption tax was inevitable. If Abe hadn't done it then someone else would have.

However, the way Abe is being spun as some sort of hero is way off the mark. Quantitative easing is not a Herculean feat, and is a gamble. Asking the BOJ to lower the rate of the yen is simply just doing that. There is nothing amazing about it. Deregulation all around results in a massive income disparity. Announcing structural reforms is worth nothing if they can't be put into practice. None of these three arrows are particularly legendary feats. So why the hype? A complete failure of diplomacy with neighboring countries is hardly a shining endorsement. "Japan is back" but to which era?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Hmmm. Let's take a quick look:

DOMESTIC

His economic policy has been tried twice, and failed twice. Its the old fiscal stimulus (borrow more), monetary easing (print more yen) and "structural reforms" -- which seem to mean more concrete highways to nowheresville.

So, yeah, temporarily, the weaker yen increases exports, and the deficit spending pump-primes a bit. The problem, of course, is it is not 1965, Japan cannot export its way to a mature domestic economy, and the pump is, well, sucking the bottom of the well.

So FAIL.

But...., I think the whole point of the temporary high that Abenomics has brought is not primarily about the economy, but giving cover to his political agenda, which is, of course, to Dump Art 9 and finally crush what's left of the Left.

And here he is succeeding. Though I do not agree with hard righting of Japan, that is what Abe wants.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

working hard to get the Olympics on the sympathy of other countries over Fukushima, then leaving those suffering twisting in the wind while glad handling corporations makes me pity Japan

6 ( +8 / -2 )

There are no words to describe the job Abe is doing for Japan...

Remember when he quit last time how he gave the country more information than it needed about his bowel movements? Seems clear he's still expressing himself in the same medium this time around too.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

33 Yes votes??? some Must be Nuclear Village Groupies.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I know two things for certain, Abe-san certainly thinks he is doing a good job, and I was better off personally under deflation. Just saying,,,

4 ( +7 / -3 )

it makes itself responsible for the violence committed in its name.

Come again? Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Gulf 1&2 etc., etc., were all in Japan's name?? The drones in Pakistan are in Japan's name?

You advocate for a Security Council with only one vote: the US's.

Explain. Scrapping Article 9 wouldn't give Japan a seat or a vote on the Security Council.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Except, perhaps for his most controversial and potentially dangerous ones i.e. constitutional amendment and the secrets act. Many commentators automatically voice the argument that constitutional amendment is necessary for the defense of the nation. What they don't look at is how some of the proposed amendments are intended to effect people on the domestic front.

I find this stuff worrying too. Forget about about Article 9, whether or not Japan should have the right to a regular army like any other country isn't a very big deal to be perfectly honest. While people are busy getting distracted by nonsense like that, factions within the LDP who have no concept of the idea of constitutionalism appear set on transforming Japan into an authoritarian state. It's funny because from a purely ideological standpoint, these people seem like they should be best friends with the CCP, they just happen to stand on opposite sides of the battlefield.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

NO, NO, NO.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

His political policies are based on a 30 year old mentality in a world economy that does not exist anymore. His foreign policies are based on an even older mentality. These can all be summed up by his campaign platform of wanting to return Japan to its former glory. By his thinking, the way forward for Japan is to go backwards. Fail!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

JTDDanMan, Not sure I understand the question. I think Article 9 is a great thing, every country should have one without exception. But the minus 10 would be for actually starting/provoking a war, scrapping Article 9 would be the first step down a slippery path, a minus 6 or 7 considering he's already at minus 5 - giving Abe the benefit of the doubt, assuming he thinks it's a good thing. He's wrong, of course. That plus the hots he has for collective self-defence has the potential to get Japan in very hot water.

As for the UNSC - there isn't only one vote.....?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Its avoidance of its responsibilities. And allows its protector -- The US -- to act as it wishes. IOW, Japan's Art Nine does not promote peace; it ironically promotes war.

Number of wars Japan with Article 9 has fought since 1945 - zero (unless you count the this is not a war zone deployment of JSDF in Iraq in 2004 - at least they didn't shoot at anyone).

Number of wars the US without any Article 9 has fought since 1945 - too many to count, large and small. There has hardly been a year since the 1950s when America hasn't been fighting someone, somewhere for some reason. How many of those conflicts would you say were caused by the US acting as Japan's 'protector'? How many would not have happened if Japan had no Article 9?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I voted no.

Whilst I am pleased at some of his efforts to attack the economic issues in Japan, he has been a poor statesman and diplomat for Japan, and has allowed serious damage to Japan's reputation on his watch.

Not good Shinzo.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Abenomics is a huge scam. Just wait and see, in a couple of months the GDP will go up by about 3~5% and he'll declare it a massive success.... and ignore the fact that it is just the knock-on effect of the new taxes raising the cost of components, which is then passed on to the final product, and more expensive products artificially inflate the GDP. In short no real growth will have happened, just fake growth driven by more taxation that drives UP the cost of goods and DOWN the quality of life for every person in Japan.

And yes, I am aware that GDP doesn't include tax, but it also doesn't remove the tax cost from components, which in turn forces retailers to raise to cost of the price of the finished good. A simple example of this would be bread. The farmer charges the same cost for his grain, but the company buying it pays more tax on the wheat, an additional cost that they pass on to the consumer, resulting in the loaf of bread costing more. Of course this effect is actually multiplied many times, because it doesn't happen once. The farmer has to buy fertilizer and supplies, he then sells to a flour company, who then sell to the baker, so a 3% tax rise at each stage is actually a lot more by the time the product reaches the consumer.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Who bothers to log in, then click "I don't know"?!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It is hard to say if he is doing a "good job", but my observation from life experiences is that if you are gonna go around slapping big guys in the face and provoking your neighbors you better either be tough as hell or ready for an arse whooping.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The voting result here differs quite a lot from Abe's domestic poll results. Is this an indication that this English version of Japan Today is mostly read by foreigners?

There is no Japanese version of Japan Today. Japan Today is a news blog. The target market is English speaking foreigners living in Japan, or who are interested in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Koizuimi was the last PM to enjoy a fairly long tenure... His major goal was to privatize the post office, but other than that his reforms have not had a particularly long lasting legacy. The main problem that any PM in Japan has at establishing lasting reforms is that they tend to evaporate over the passage of time with continued pressure from vested interest groups. There is no reason to believe that many of Abe's reforms will not play out the same way. Except, perhaps for his most controversial and potentially dangerous ones i.e. constitutional amendment and the secrets act. Many commentators automatically voice the argument that constitutional amendment is necessary for the defense of the nation. What they don't look at is how some of the proposed amendments are intended to effect people on the domestic front.

Abe has basically emulated the trickle down economic policies of Reagan and Thatcher (whom he particularly admires).

Uh...and yes, it was Ishihara's bid on the Senkakus that got the ball rolling on that one. Noda was simply (rightly or wrongly) running damage control. At this point its academic as to whether the Chinese would have been 'happier' with 'Tokyo owned Senkakus' or 'Japan owned Senkakus' but it was without a doubt Ishihara who put the cat among the pigeons.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The voting result here differs quite a lot from Abe's domestic poll results. Is this an indication that this English version of Japan Today is mostly read by foreigners?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The voting result here differs quite a lot from Abe's domestic poll results. Is this an indication that this English version of Japan Today is mostly read by foreigners?

I've read that there are a lot of Japanese expats who read these kinds sites, that doesn't mean they participate in the polls though since you need to be a registered user. Who knows.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

elect Taro Yamamoto next PM ....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fixing economies takes time.

Governments cannot fix economies. They can only avoid breaking them. The success of the economy is ultimately dependent on businesses to offer goods and services the people want, pay wages that allow the people to buy them, and for the people to make the choice to purchase. The government can have some influence on all this, but they cannot actually make any of it happen. Governments just get lucky when economy's succeed. When they fail, they are often responsible.

All that said, Japan's economy is doing great for all but those who desire to get rich quick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If J Govt takes these Polls Seriously Abe will be booted out.......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He went to the Stones concert on Thursday March 6th!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wish there was a category for "he hasn't been booted out yet, has he?"

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@XTC

And that is relevant how? Moderators can you help on that one? Maybe Abe's not the only one remiss at his job. Alright, then maybe after he saw them sing 'You can't always get what you want' he realized he'd have to stop kissing Putin's a*** and be nicer to Korea to try and get America to help bail him out with China and energy that Russia wont provide anymore.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

He's doing a good job at keeping the Japanese morale at high, I don't understand those of my fellows who cave in to the Chinese prepotency and leftist-communist agenda which has done so much harm to Japan. Anybody forgot the Red Army?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

An oversimplified question posed to an audience with little weight on the issue, but good entertainment. Has Abe done what was needed for his country, I would say yes. He has been a stable figurehead and symbol for Japan. He continues to weather political outbursts which would have led other PM to resign. He has been able to appease the power brokers so far. For that much, I say he has done a good job as a leader. Where he is directing the country is a different question altogether.

Abenomics has been only beneficial to those who are least likely to feel market forces, yet most likely to vote. The standing issue with Fukushima and Japans's reluctance to accept any type of foreign proposed plan in the clean up and reconstruction are are pretty bad. The issue with China, which really was Ishihara pushing the issue, hasn't been handled well and caused a lot of damage to both sides. As much as I don't like the guy, he has brought political stability to the country, even if said stability is not popular.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Every country does not have one, is rather the point. Indeed, only Japan does. And therefore relies on the US for its defense. Which is not "pacifist." Its avoidance of its responsibilities. And allows its protector -- The US -- to act as it wishes. IOW, Japan's Art Nine does not promote peace; it ironically promotes war.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The issue with China, which really was Ishihara pushing the issue, hasn't been handled well and caused a lot of damage to both sides.

Why are people so reluctant to acknowledge that it was Noda, not Abe or Ishihara that nationalized the Senkakus?

To answer the question: Abe is doing a reasonable job IMO. He has managed to stop the revolving door at the PM's office, which in itself is a major accomplishment. As a result, hIs economic policies are actually being implemented. Been a long time since japan has had any kind of coherent long term plan at all. In the current economic climate any kind of policy stability - even if it isn't perfect - is better than none. If he can stay in power for another 2 years and keep the same track record he has had so far, japan will be much better off. Fixing economies takes time.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

He's certainly doing better than the last couple of guys.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Cleo,

you say that you would give a minus 10 if he got rid of article 9. Well, here's a way to look at that: if you think article 9 is a good thing, Tell me. What is the difference between that and United's nations Security Council with only one vote and that the votes being the united states?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Cleo

How many of those conflicts would you say were caused by the US acting as Japan's 'protector'?

All of them. That is rather the point, again.

You fail to realize that by Japan 'abjuring violence,' thus requiting US protection, it makes itself responsible for the violence committed in its name.

You advocate for a Security Council with only one vote: the US's.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Yes, i think that he is doing a great job as prime minister. I think he will last longer than the previous prime ministers. although i might no support all his policies i think he is doing a great job so far. Keep the good work up!!!!!!!! It is just what i think, some people might disagree with my opinion and that is fine

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Honest Abe has brought a windfall to me, my company, my clients and my family. He basically announced the market opportunity in domestic equities when he telegraphed certain moves in the markets. He has won the Olympics for Japan, which is huge, and shows the world believes in his earnest efforts to rebuild Tohoku. There are also a lot of contracts in the works for this. Abe is also the first Prime Minister in a long time to FIGHT for the middle class and secure wage increases. Still, some people will follow the superficial trend and say they don't like him. Sounds like some petty jealousy to me.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

if anyone says no to this, you obviously dont remember what it was like before Abe.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

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