A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both houses

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Ray, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both houses

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proved that patience in politics, along with good timing, can pay off.

    Six years ago, he was licking his wounds after his Liberal Democratic Party suffered a demoralizing defeat in an upper house election. He resigned two months later, citing health issues.

    Today, he's feeling the rush of political redemption. He returned to the top job in December following a landslide general election, and now he’s savouring the complete victory that eluded him back in 2007.

    "I think the people have shown that they believe in us," Abe said in an interview with public broadcaster NHK after the LDP and its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, won yesterday's upper house vote. "We are really the only choice."

    Abe's triumph breaks a deadlock in the Diet and may end the leadership shuffle that has given the country a rotating cast of prime ministers for much of the past seven years. It also threatens to usher in a more militaristic Japan, as well as a revitalized manufacturing base — buoyed by hyper-cheap government money — that has some of its critics and trading partners more than a little worried.

    "Abe himself, but also his entourage, have stayed on message so far not in order to just do economics, but also to push their nationalistic agenda," says political science professor Koichi Nakano of Sophia University. "He's a hardcore nationalist with a very jarring, revisionist view of history."

    Abe learned a tough lesson from the 2007 campaign when voters panned his plans to beef up patriotic education and revise the pacifist constitution so that Japan's Self-Defense Forces could be made into a military. The day he was sworn in for the second time, he admitted he had once been "on fire with ideals," and so he dressed up his vision with a fiscal framework.

    "The restoration of a robust economy is a truly urgent issue," he said. "A robust economy is a source of national strength for Japan."

    The three arrows
    The LDP, which has ruled for much of the post-Second World War era, now controls both houses of parliament and is better able to push through its policy agenda. A combination of voter disinterest (turnout Sunday was 51 per cent), a weak and fractured opposition, and Abe's singular, almost obsessive focus on reviving the economy helped the Liberal Democrats secure victory.

    After his return to power, Abe rushed to implement the so-called the three arrows of his economic policy, which some have dubbed Abenomics: fiscal spending, monetary easing, and a growth strategy.

    His administration allocated roughly $100 billion mainly to fund public works projects. He named Haruhiko Kuroda, the former president of the Asian Development Bank, as the governor of the Bank of Japan, and Kuroda quickly introduced massive credit-easing measures with a goal of raising inflation by two per cent within two years.

    "Japan's economy has suffered from deflation for nearly 15 years," Kuroda said in a policy speech in March. It is "a vicious cycle where a decline in prices causes wages and profits to contract, thereby reducing investment and consumption, consequently leading to a further decline in prices."

    So far, the impact has been clear: the yen has weakened by about 20 per cent against the U.S. dollar since mid-November, giving Japan's export-driven economy a jolt; the key stock index, the Nikkei, has increased 60 per cent in value during the same period; and gross domestic product rose 4.1 per cent in the January-March quarter from a year earlier.

    Perhaps just as importantly, Abe’s approval rating has hovered in the high 50-per-cent range.

    Abenomics may not have won across-the-board support (the growth strategy, for example, has been widely criticized), but it has succeeded in injecting some much-needed optimism into the world's second-largest economy.

    "The overall verdict on Japan’s effort to turn its economy around is so far, so good," wrote Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

    Long to-do list
    As prime minister, Abe inherited a number of open files when he took office.

    For one, he had to set aside billions more in funds to speed the reconstruction of the northeast, where work is still dragging on more than two years after the earthquake and tsunami.

    He also put a process in place to try to accelerate the decommissioning of the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima, where Tokyo Electric Power Company workers have been dealing with a slew of problems, including indications that highly-radioactive water may have been leaking into the ocean ever since the March 11, 2011 meltdowns and explosions.

    Despite the risks the crisis exposed, Abe has been pushing for idled reactors to go back online once they pass new safety tests. Plus, he has been actively promoting his country's nuclear power technology abroad.

    The prime minister has also worked to shore up the Japan-U.S. alliance, which he argued had deteriorated under the previous government.

    After meeting with President Barack Obama in February, he guided Japan to join the U.S.-led negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a wide-ranging free trade deal involving 11 other nations. The decision won him praise from big business, but loud criticism from labour unions and a number of farmers.

    Perhaps one of Abe's biggest challenges, though, involves repairing relations with his Asian neighbours, China in particular.

    The two nations are locked in a fractious dispute over a handful of small, uninhabited islands that Japan controls in the East China Sea. At stake are fishing rights, undersea resources and national pride. Abe vows he won’t concede an inch.

    Fears that a miscalculation or misunderstanding could trigger a conflict are very real, making U.S. leaders, who are obliged to protect Japan under a long-standing security treaty, increasingly nervous.

    History's lessons
    So much of the tension between Japan and its neighbours is tied to painful events in the past, specifically the atrocities Japanese soldiers committed before and during the Second World War.

    Chinese and South Korean leaders fume when Abe suggests he may reconsider post-war apologies, or denies the Japanese military forced women into sexual slavery.

    "Things that happened between nations will look different depending on which side you view them from," he said in a recent televised debate.

    Abe’s desire to revise the U.S.-guided constitution — a long-held dream he inherited from his grandfather, former prime minister Nobusuke Kishi — has only fanned the diplomatic flames. Among other things, he aims to amend an article that restricts Japan from having a military.

    "It’s not just Abe's personal agenda," notes Prof. Nakano. "It's also to do with a sizeable group within the parliamentary LDP really caring about those issues in a way that we haven't seen before. The party is rather more right wing and nationalistic than any time we can remember."

    The LDP’s draft constitution includes clauses that would give the state more power over individuals. Nakano describes it as a "pretty vicious document." And while constitutional reform isn't a hot topic among Japanese, polls suggest the issue still divides them. Some cherish the original document's pacifist core.

    "We gained the constitution at a price of huge sacrifice in the war," activist Yoshi Tsunoda said in an interview with NHK. "If we amend [it], that may lead our country to another atrocity."

    Abe and his supporters say the current constitution doesn't reflect the will of the Japanese people because it was created while the country was under occupation (it went into effect in 1947). They also say the security situation in Asia has evolved, and the document should evolve with it.

    "Many people ask me why Japan is now trying to change the constitution," political scientist Shinichi Kitaoka told NHK. "But the right question should be, why has Japan never changed the constitution until now?"

    Any revisions would require approval by two-thirds or more of the lawmakers in both chambers of the Diet, then majority support in a public referendum. Prime Minister Abe has the power in the lower house. His convincing victory Sunday now means the upper house could be within reach as well.

    A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both houses - World - CBC News

    *****************************************

    The first thing that come to mind is that China would be up a gum tree in so far as all her quest to claim the whole of the South China Sea and more.

    It appears that the Japanese are now fed up with all the pacifism and instead are looking forward to a dynamic leadership to steer Japan out of the economic slowdown as also to assert her place strategically in the Pacific rim, rather than being a mere bystander and pushed around by militarist and hegemonic China.

    Abe is a nationalist and has had no apology for his paying respects at the Shinto shrine.

    He will work with vigour to shore up the US Japan Alliance and give an impetus to the US pivot in the Pacific by strengthen ties with like minded neighbours and beyond to build a strong deterrent to hegemonic ambitions of others.
     
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  3. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    Add the $200bn on top of what the South Koreans can also muster to cripple Japan (a rival exporting nation) and Shinzo Abe had better walk with his tail between his legs if he wants to keep his economy intact.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    Of course, South Korea would not be too pleased, but then they are all beholden to the US and their functioning is to a great extent guided by the US.

    And the US is keen to maintain her supremacy in the Pacific!
     
  5. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    Japan's 'Abenomics' Will Fail: Ex-Olympus CEO
    Why Japan's 'Abenomics' Will Fail | Gold News

    DESPITE all of the hoopla regarding how Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has become a rock star in Japan's equivalent of Wall Street – due to the country's massive stimulus regime referred to as 'Abenomics' – I still remain unconvinced about the Japanese stock market, writes George Leong of Investment Contrarians.

    Just like the Federal Reserve here with Ben Bernanke, Abenomics is all about driving the economy by flooding the monetary system with easy and, essentially, free money. (Can you say "Ponzi scheme"?) And when money is free, it is expected that consumers and corporations will spend it. But the problem, just like the one we're experiencing here in America, is that the flow of money down the pipeline will create an artificial Japanese economy that will stay stuck in a recession—despite the growth.

    As I mentioned previously in these pages, the flowing of easy money is dangerous because spenders become addicted to the near-zero interest rates.

    Just recall the use of the term "monetary cocaine" by Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, in reference to the Fed's stimulus. (Source: "Fed's Fisher: We Cannot Live in Fear of 'Monetary Cocaine,'" Reuters, June 5, 2013.)

    The failure of the Bank of Japan to offer up new stimulus at last week's monetary meeting and the subsequent selling in the Nikkei stock market were red flags that we need to watch.

    It's no different from here; just like the US, Japan is currently being driven by the easy money—and traders want more of it. Hold back the easy money, and you'll see the stock market fall.

    In the Global Economic Prospects report produced by the World Bank, Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection was raised to 1.4% from the previous 0.8%. According to the World Bank, "In Japan, a dynamic relaxation of macroeconomic policy has sparked an uptick in activity, at least over the short-term." (Source: "Japan growth estimate gets World Bank boost," The Japan Times News, June 13, 2013.)

    The upward revision is encouraging for Japan, but it doesn't justify the associated rise in the Japanese stock market. Not even close.

    Moreover, last year's launch of Abenomics will add to the already woeful debt levels in Japan, and, just like the massive debt buildup in America, this will not be good.

    The Nikkei 225 has retrenched 22% from its high on May 23, and I don't think a bottom has even been reached yet. I said it before and I will repeat it now: I would stay out of the Japanese stock market.

    And just like the United States, Japan will find out very soon that its stock market will be dependent on the flow of easy money to continue its uptick. This is a risky proposition, especially as the global interest rates begin to ratchet higher. And just like America, the Bank of Japan is running a massive Ponzi scheme that could—very simply—collapse.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    A militarist Japan will be a threat to China.

    The region will become a tinderbox because China will not that easily lose her growing ascendancy in the Pacific!
     
  7. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    More glory to Abe. We need a militarily powerful Japan shedding its pacifist constitution.
     
    asianobserve and TrueSpirit like this.
  8. nirranj

    nirranj Regular Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    No country can live in the shadows of its past. Shame is only for two generations and the third generation (which has no physical contact) with its ancestors, will take pride in a lost supremacy and will harbor a no holds barred obsession to reclaim it...

    I was wondering If Japan sees India as a alternative destination for its investments... Hope more Japanese factories in China relocate to India...
     
  9. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    If there ever was a people more hypocritical. China has done nothing but flood the economy with cheap credit to keep it going for years and now ccp is trying to rein it in. You fish in Google for any article that has anything negative to say and post it. That's pathetic man. Gold news. Wow what a source.
     
  10. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    Look, when u had nothing to refute the content, u shot at the source. And u conveniently switched channel from Japan to China!?

    What is more pathetic?!

    Abe has imprudently pushed S. Korea, N. Korea, Russia and China (almost the whole of E. Asia) to the opposite -
    Park criticizes Japan’s perception of history in summit with Obama - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
     
  11. s002wjh

    s002wjh Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    hmm let see, both korea hate japan, china hate japan, russia don't like japan either. so basically in the west pacific it will be japan vs them. US don't like japan create a havoc there either.
     
  12. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    With Chna acquiring nuclear submarines with SLBM capable of hitting continental US, it is essential for the US to necessity for the US to augment the resources that can detect and deter the Chinese nuclear submarines.

    A militarist Japan that embarks on a proactive naval force is to the US' advantage.

    While Koreans have historical reasons for disliking Japan, yet the hegemonic pursuit of China, will push them into a comfort zone by aligning itself with Japan for strategic reasons, more so, since North Korea is very erratic and North Korea being an ally of China.

    In fact, China's hegemonic pursuits have pushed many an otherwise inimical to the US nation in the SCS region into US' warm embrace!

    While Russia is undertaking military exercises with China because of its animosity to the US, yet there is no doubt that Russia is very concerned about China's threat to Asiatic Eastern Russia and is also worried about the Chinese influence in the CAR, which is Russia's soft underbelly. Therefore,how Russia will jump when the chips are down, is a moot point and is open ended.

    The necessity for survival in a dog eat dog world makes real strange bedfellows.

    Nothing can be taken for granted or is mathematical in solution!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  14. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    PLAAN had JL-1 since quite sometime...JL-2 was extensively tested around 2 years back. US is waking up too late.

    Anyway, all brouhaha aside, the fact is US would never let Japan off its short leash.
     
  15. s002wjh

    s002wjh Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    i won't worry about china SSBN, their sub is notoriously noise, i won't suprise everytime china SSBN goto sea, there is a US SSN tailing it.

    as far as japan, well china may not be ally of S.korea/russia, but ALL these countries hate japan more than china and has dispute with japan.
    the president of S.korea 1st visit after she got the job was US->china->some other country, last was japan.
    when chinese president got his job, his 1st visit was russia.

    if ABE really get into this WWII stuff and go back to militaristic, i can see whole region start arm race and more confrontation. which is what US try to avoid. hence a militaristic/ultra nationlistic japan doesn't benefit US at all. Since US military is fully capable to handle both russia/china.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    Noisy or not, it is what they pack which is of concern.

    The usual pacific salve will not do.

    Peaceful Rise lulled all and how the Dragon breathes fire.

    NO more time for succumbing to China's pious platitudes and homilies and instead check the realities!
     
  17. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    This.

    Remember that the flip side of a Japan that is rearming is a China that now has a legitimate, non-American security excuse to rearm.
     
  18. boris

    boris Regular Member

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    Re: A more militaristic Japan? Shinzo Abe's party now controls both ho

    I would love to see that happen.
     

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