The Peaks and Valleys of Abeís long administration

(January 2020)

From November 20, 2019, Mr. Abe has been the longest serving Prime Minister of Japan. How has Prime Minister Abe retained his administration for such a long time? There are several reasons pointed out by scholars and the media.

First is attributed to the success of Abenomics, which has dramatically restored Japanís economic condition from deflation. The second is that Mr. Abe has repeatedly dissolved the House of Representatives when the opposition parties were weak and unable to sufficiently prepare for an election. The third is the division within the opposition parties. The now defunct Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) split into the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), the National Democratic Party (NDP), the Kibo Party and others. Recently, the CDP and NDP started merger negotiations; according to the press, it doesnít seem likely, since many people still recalled the recent failure of the DPJís administration (2009-2012).

However, I believe the most crucial reason is because the KOMEITO bolstered the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in both elections and policies, as I stated in my previous book ďJapanese Politics One Politicianís PerspectiveĒ.

His term; however, hasnít been without controversy. Currently, due to the issues surrounding the state cherry-blossom viewing event, the approval rate for Abeís Cabinet has fallen about 10 points over the past two months. Prime Minister Abe has been accused of using this event to entertain about 8 hundred of his supporters. This event has become a throne in his side as it is funded by taxes every year.

Furthermore, Mr. Akimoto, a member of the House of Representatives and a past vice minister of the Cabinet Office, was arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes from a Chinese firm which is bidding to develop Integrated Resort (IR) businesses including casino in Japan. It is reported that this Chinese firm offered funds to several Diet members.

The state cherry-blossom viewing event and IR business will be the most controversial issues in the ordinary Diet session which starts on January 20. The opposition parties will mount a serious attack regarding these matters.

Abeís long administration might have loosened discipline amongst LDP members without his notice. The ruling coalition, including the KOMEITO, should tighten the reins on administration management.

By Yuzuru Takeuchi