Shinzo Abe is unlikely to face much of a challenge in the country’s upcoming general election with the once powerful Democratic Party (DPJ) now too divided and demoralised to put up much of a challenge.
Abe’s own party, the Liberal Democrats (LDP), rose to power in December 2012 after a shambolic three-year spell in power for DPJ. The latter’s huge victory in 2009 – ending half a century of almost unbroken rule by the LDP – was based on policies that were abandoned within a couple of years, such as not raising consumption tax, or handing out child benefits of Y26,000 ($218) a month. The party, however, blamed the chaos caused by the disasters of March 2011 for their political shortfalls.
Shinzo Abe’s LDP government came to power on the promise of implementing new economic reforms, generally referred to as Abenomics. However, things did not quite go according to plan. The LDP should really be in more trouble than it is. This week the government confirmed that the world’s third-largest economy tipped into recession in the six months to September, despite unprecedented monetary easing from the Bank of Japan and trillions of yen of extra fiscal spending to offset the impact of April’s 3% rise in taxes.
Even now, after another huge shot of stimulus from the BoJ at the end of October, the recovery looks tepid. The latest monthly survey of economy watchers – taxi-drivers, barbers, hoteliers and the like – found that spirits had sunk to their lowest levels since the prime minister reappeared on the scene two years ago.
Polls suggest the divided and demoralised DPJ will be routed again this time, gaining no more than a handful of the 177 single-member seats – just 60% of the total – it is contesting, or the 180 seats determined by proportional representation.
We shall know early next week !
I believe Abenomics and Abe are here to stay ,