Japan Chair Platform: Abe’s Challenges Ahead
July 10, 2013
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan has a lot to be happy about. In the recent Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) crushed all others, winning 59 seats to become the dominant party. This is important because it provides Abe and his party with a tailwind going into this month’s House of Councillors election in which the entire nation will have a chance to rate Abe’s performance after six months in office. If history is a guide, he should be optimistic. When the LDP won a landslide in Tokyo in 2001, it went on to win the House of Councillors election that followed. Similarly, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won big prior to the 2009 House of Representatives election. Currently, all polls indicate the LDP can expect a smashing victory. Yet, though the LDP’s victory will eliminate the “twisted Diet” that befuddles Japanese politics, Abe should not expect smooth sailing come August. The issues on Abe’s agenda and the current state of affairs in the LDP mean that Abe’s next six months in office (and beyond) will be far tougher than his first.