Monday, 16 October 2017

Shinzo Abe's Gambling on Snap Election!

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to dissolve the lower house of Parliament unexpectedly on September 28 and take a pre-election. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party is having two-thirds majority in the house, still he is going for election fourteen month before the tentative date.

 Shinzo Abe's career has been satisfactory since 2012, and Abe is unlikely to be threatened by the main opposition Democratic Party as it has decided not to run any candidate under its flag. Japan's former Defense Minister, Ms Yuriko Koike, formed a party named "Party of Hope" in the face of elections, when she was elected Governor of Tokyo. She established the "Tokyo Residents First" association and succeeded in the local government elections in July 2017. Since her "Party of Hope" has not been established at the national level, Abe now has no stern challenge.

In Japan, unlike India, election campaign doesn't go on for months. For election happening on 22nd October, campaign will begin on October 10 and will last for twelve days. The image of Democratic Party, which was in power from 2009 to 2012, was affected badly by allegations of transgression, rebellion and corruption. That is why the party has given its members the freedom to seek nominations from Ms Koike’s new Party of Hope. Ms Koike has said that she itself is not going to run for the election.

Till 2010, Japan was the second largest financial superpower behind the United States. Now China has taken that position & after China comes Japan. Japan's position was in jeopardy since it got hit badly by the economic recession in 2008. Now, the economy growth has stopped. The debt burden on the government has increased to 250 percent of GDP. The population of working age has declined & elderly population is on increase. Birth rate is decreasing & the burden of pension is becoming unbearable. Abe tried to accelerate the economy by increasing government expenditure in the last five years. After 275 billion dollar, now he has launched a new scheme of $ 18 billion.

Abe justifies his decision for snap election as seeking a mandate to stick to his tough stance towards a volatile North Korea and re-balance the social security system. North Korean dictator Kim Jong is giving nuclear threats to Japan and South Korea along with the United States. North Korean missiles going above Japanese sky are making Abe & Japanese people uneasy. To tackle this menace, Abe recently went to Beijing. He tried to persuade Xi Jinping that cooperation from China, Japan and South Korea is needed for northeast Asia's political stability. China is wary about the presence of US military bases in Japan and South Korea as US is capable of effectively challenging China's claims on the 90 percent of the South China sea coast.

As China - Japan's trade is worth four hundred billion dollars, Japan does not dare to hurt China directly. In the 1930s and 1940s, Japanese imperialism led to brutal massacre in China, the Korean Peninsula, the Philippines, Singapore, so China still has slight aversion about Japan. Abe has often apologized for the massacre happened by Japan in-and-after the Second World War. Yet, China has not given up its aim to teach Japan a lesson. North Korea's threats, nuclear missiles are part of that lesson. Now at this imperative juncture of election campaign, Abe does not seem likely to give a sense of danger to the people by mentioning this issue in the election campaign.

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