Thursday, September 04, 2014

Five women in Abe's reshuffled cabinet... So what?

“I reshuffled my Cabinet to firmly push various measures forward with a fresh mind,” the prime minister Shinzo Abe said at a press conference Wednesday… vitalising local economies, spreading the effects of Abenomics across the nation. All right but this happens within a context of LDP war, in a climate of discord between the top 2 leaders of the LDP, the current Japanese ruling party. Abe and Ishiba, ex LDP Secretary General. 

The only news here is that 5 women entered the new Cabinet: Sanae Takaichi as internal affairs and communications minister; Midori Matsushima as justice minister; Yuko Obuchi as economy, trade and industry minister, Daddy's girl Obuchi, close to the U.S. is to oversee nuclear industry from now on; Eriko Yamatani doubling as state minister for the abduction issue and National Public Safety Commission chair; and Haruko Arimura as state minister tasked with promoting women’s active participation. Abe retained six members of his administration. Eight ministers, including Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki, joined a cabinet for the first time. 

Let’s notice that revisionists and Yasukuni frequent loyal visitors enter the cabinet “en masse” such as ex LDP Policy Research Council chair Mrs Sanae Takaichi lifted to the post of Internal Affairs and Communications minister, stupors and tremors for the Japanese broadcasters aware since September 3rd that the battle for serving the government is launched by one of the most vivid revisionists of Japan Inc. She and her little LDP faction of MPs, the Association of Creativity and Tradition, are frequent visitors of the Yasukuni shrine to honour the soldiers of past Japan wars, including the war criminals whose tablets are there enshrined, and basically spend time denying that Japan did anything reprehensible prior and during World War II. 

Takaichi asks for a new political official statement on “comfort women” next year 2015 which is the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2 and frequently navigates on all channels to, she says: “dispel false information that undermines Japan’s honour.” Many old guard revisionists indeed fear the new evidences that will be published on the 70th anniversary of the end of Japan war of aggression in Asia. Abe sent a signal hiring notorious historical revisionists in his government.

Here we are, 5 women in Abe's reshuffled cabinet... So what? How representative are they of their counterparts? Watching Japan society during the last 20 years, I doubt the majority of Japanese identify with the heirs of political dynasties or nationalist politicians.

So, what is the scenario for the future of local politics? The implementation of the time bomb consumption tax hike. Abe will face a decision by the end of the year over whether to further hike the consumption tax rate to 10 per cent while difficulties will delay an economic recovery. This is to anger further more the Japanese voters who have already started to turn their back to Abe, polls reveal. Why? Life is getting harder under Abe's administration. Approval rating has already fallen to 43.5 in an August survey, the lowest level since Abe's election in December 2012. Voters will speak, steadily, quietly, when time comes. 

The system will drop unpopular politicians after current elected Abe's team is rejected by an exhausted and angered population, in spite of all efforts undertaken by Japanese media kowtowing to the government communication consultants. Biased commentators already push to more "reforms" (please understand that it is not reforms but clear destruction) of social security, labour markets, public pension, health insurance and all advantages that give Japan its prime rank in welfare, though a fact often unknown. The role of the life time employment as a stabiliser factor is under deconstruction, jeopardises Japan's social balance, and it is delegated to the Abe's minor league. 

Here is the question: is there a mature, sound and reliable LDP faction able to handle power after Abe if he does not come back with a policy that pleases the society's majority? And even better, as far as alternative democratic government option is concerned, is there a legit opposition in Japan ready to assume its constitutional and democratic role? Nothing of that kind exists at this moment. This will be the main focus of Japan political life from now and for the 2 years ahead. Of course, one cannot be sure that unfortunate events won't pre-empt such scenario, in the ballots or in our precious nature, as Japan unfortunately experienced in the past. 

Judicious policies are expected to maintain, for all living and working here, a satisfying quality of life. But in my Sento 銭湯, very trendy again nowadays, I hear more and more people who complain that Abe is just not up to the job, and that worries me because the Sento's survey remains the best opinion measurement ever realised in Japan!

Revised 795 words.

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