Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Banzai, banzai, banzai" The Abenomics in turmoil! Abe falls to 39% in opinion polls

Abe and his LDP friends Banzai for... the dissolution!

"Banzai, banzai, banzai"... After the Parliament dissolution, I reported last night and the whole week about the obsession of Abe for reigning in Nagatacho following Friday Lower House dissolution. I commented for my Francophone television and radio partners in France and overseas. Main talk is focussing on institutions, daily reality and analyse them, describing real people life. Not just jawing on the beautiful rich and happy and major firms rising profits.

A Kyodo News agency survey on Friday found that about 63% of people did not understand Mr Abe's reasons for going to the polls early. A separate survey by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper found that only 39% supported Mr Abe. Interesting to see if the right wing conservative who use Shinzo Abe will attack the Asahi methodology about opinion polls* for their extremist "ethno nationalism" (nationalisme ethnique ou nationalisme ethno-culturel en Français)" as Louis Schweitzer (Louis Schweitzer, Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Japan and former boss of Renault-Nissan) once said at a journalist breakfast at the French embassy.

What do the foreign media write? Here is the New York Times: “... However, many political experts said they also detected deep pessimism in Mr. Abe’s decision: He was essentially admitting that he did not see the economy regaining energy any time soon, they said, and that he would rather face the voters now than after they have become unhappier.

Abenomics are losing steam

“There is only one reason to call an election now, and that is the fear that things will be only worse if he waits,” said Gerald L. Curtis, a specialist on Japanese politics at Columbia University. “The expectation of political stability and an Abe administration unchallenged for six years, that so many thought just two weeks ago was the most likely scenario, is now history.” Even so, Mr. Abe was betting that his party was still more appealing to voters than the main opposition party, the Democrats, who have fallen into disarray since their defeat two years ago.

In fact, experts said, one reason to call an early election is to deny the Democrats and other opposition parties the chance to enlist a full slate of candidates and mount a serious challenge. Mr. Abe called Tuesday for early elections, raising fears not only that his vaunted program for economic revival was faltering, but that his popularity might fade with it" the New York Times writes.

 Abe's economy adviser Hamada at FPCJ: "taxes should be lower, consumption and corporate"

The Abenomics are described with a three "arrows" symbole. It is an economic policy made of three "arrows“ A reference to Japanese lord Mori Motonari of the sixteenth century. Mori gave to each of his three sons one arrow asking them to break it. This was done. Then he gave them each three arrows, asking them again. But the three arrows together could not be broken. Japan likes history symbols, or to play theatre in politics such as in the Kabuki theatre where comedians are actually controlled and readjusted by men dressed in black behind them, guiding their clothing or their position. Abenomics are an expansive fiscal policy, monetary policy designed to get Japan's deflation and structural reforms, in particular the consolidation of public finances. But Japan falling into recession in the third quarter has raised doubts about the effectiveness of these measures

Under Abe's get richer, poor get poorer Abenomics’ policy administration short comings and policy making, his failure to convince the Japanese of the necessity of the sudden snap election, his refusal to acknowledge that his "Abenomics" do not work for people, and the result is that the popularity of the Prime Minister is at the lowest, 39% good opinions. That's the reality picture at this time today in Japan.

I commented the gap coming between Japanese and their political leaders, the anaesthesia of the Japanese audiences hammered by increasing pressure of the nationalists policies of Abe and his right wingers and the fear for social liberties, as stated by unions and opposition political parties.

Some of my comments to Kyodo news agency for Japanese newspapers

I reported in French about things my Japanese people surveys reveal and about things Japanese journalists friends and commentators tell me about. Some ask me to talk on TV or in the media for that purpose because they simply cannot themselves voice or report in details or too directly about it, except about the calendar of Abe's events ahead provided by the "Kantei Abe machine" the army of communicators some being ex scholars, some ex advertising agencies, even ex media, including representatives of the right wing organisations having a seat at Kantei. Well the point is that this Abenomics serial movie show the incompetence of these communicators unable to avoid the falling popularity trends. They should be changed. They might already having been changed or "reinforced" actually. Nothing good for the media. I already talked about the subject in this 20 years old blog, please research here.

The self censorship of Japanese journalist including those working in the centre or centre-left press has a strange flavour describing a lack of press freedom. Is Japan democracy things getting sour? Japan went from 22nd to 53rd in the world rankings on press freedom by RSF "Reporters Without Borders" in 2013.

Asahi shimbun, 8 million copies, Japanese version of New York Times/Le Monde 
Asahi officials kowtow to the right wing.

An example with the torments suffered by the daily Press: The Asahi Shimbun, violently attacked in the Abe administration... * Do read on this point the report of my colleague Philippe Pons of Le Monde. "Asahi dans la tourmente." I talked about the Asahi several times, I reported and mentioned about it last night too on French TV.

Growing sense of frustration or blank arrogance?

Even among foreign journalists, there is a growing sense of frustration as seen at the press conference of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe November 18th. Several foreign correspondents, usually invited to the Kantei for Abe's media appearance, were turned down. They were not even informed of it although it was the rule (see the email screen-shot). No reasons were given, no apologies were offered. Just a sudden (so Japanese) change of rule by people unfamiliar with procedures and respect of rules even with foreigners. The kind of thing that the US and EU fight with their Japanese counterparts in international negotiations, "structural impediments on trade, FTA, TPP etc... We discovered later that day there were still free seats (5 free seats according to a colleague) for the foreign press at Abe's press conference. But the press service of the Kantei (global communication something they say) did not invite members of the foreign press, they just did not invite them to attend. They just did not respect their words of informing them if they are in or not in. One German, French and Italian journalist were among those waiting. Is it a bureaucratic incompetence? Is it related to the fear of prime minister Abe for everything "foreign" or is it just a blank arrogance under the less popular Abe regime? As a foreign media "baron" commented, hearing it from foreign ambassadors in Japan: "Japan does not have any respect for the press... and control their moves, spooks on them, bug their phones, their emails..."

Analysts say it is perhaps the best timing for Abe to get a fresh mandate to try to eliminate any possibility of the mounting scandals sending his government into a downward spiral. The opposition parties are in disarray, the public's focus is on the economy and few voters would oppose delaying a tax increase. In the first half of next year, 2015, Abe plans to tackle contentious issues that could erode support for his government, namely legislation to expand Japan's military role and restart nuclear power plants.

"The Democratic Party has unfortunately not restored to the point that we can ask voters to entrust us with the government," admitted Yukio Edano, the secretary general of the DPJ, at the foreign correspondents press club.

To be followed...

* "Asahi dans la tourmente"

[This blog story is originally written in French, translated into English, the appropriate version is the French version]

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