Japan Times JBC column 99, “For Abe, it will always be about the Constitution”, Aug 1, 2016


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For Abe, it will always be about the Constitution
By Debito Arudou
The Japan Times, JUST BE CAUSE column 99, August 1, 2016

Nobody here on the Community page has weighed in on Japan’s Upper House election last July 10, so JBC will have a go.

The conclusion first: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scored a hat trick this election, and it reaffirmed his mandate to do whatever he likes. And you’re probably not going to like what that is.

Of those three victories, the first election in December 2012 was a rout of the leftist Democratic Party of Japan and it thrust the more powerful Lower House of Parliament firmly into the hands of the long-incumbent Liberal Democratic Party under Abe. The second election in December 2014 further normalized Japan’s lurch to the far right, giving the ruling coalition a supermajority of 2/3 of the seats in the Lower House.

July’s election delivered the Upper House to Abe. And how. Although a few protest votes found their way to small fringe leftist parties, the LDP and parties simpatico with Abe’s policies picked up even more seats. And with the recent defection of Diet member Tatsuo Hirano from the opposition, the LDP alone has a parliamentary majority for the first time in 27 years, and a supermajority of simpaticos. Once again the biggest loser was the leftist Democratic Party, whose fall from power three years ago has even accelerated.

So that’s it then: Abe has achieved his goals. And with that momentum he’s going to change the Japanese Constitution.

Amazingly, this isn’t obvious to some observers. The Wall Street Journal, The Economist (London), and Abe insiders still cheerfully opined that Abe’s primary concern remains the economy — that constitutional reform will remain on the backburner. But some media made similar optimistic predictions after Abe’s past electoral victories…

Read the rest at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2016/07/31/issues/abe-will-always-constitution/


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5 comments on “Japan Times JBC column 99, “For Abe, it will always be about the Constitution”, Aug 1, 2016

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, I don’t know where to post this;


    Japan Times has lost its mind and gone totally through the looking glass with this picture laden article telling me that Yasakuni shrine (yes, THAT Yasakuni shrine, the one with over 1000 convicted A, B, and C class war criminals worshipped as gods) is a happy fun place with many beautiful events that foreigners can enjoy!

    They should have listed the dates of these ‘fun events’ so that visitors don’t inadvertently arrive while social inadequates are doing Imperial army cosplay themed hate-rallies, for the visitors own safety.

    We’ve discussed here before how JT seems to have been going downhill and going easy on the fascists of late, but the Yasakuni article is a real case of telling me ‘black is white’. Mind= boggled.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    JDG, #1

    Yasukuni Shrine is separated with three main gates. It is roughly split into two spaces; a walkway made between the first and the second gates; and the third gate that leads to the main site, which has honden(where all convicted soldiers are named), yushukan, and a garden. So, technically, you don’t get into the actual main site until you pass the third gate; there is a driveway right in the middle as if it cut off the walkway. I personally don’t think it’s a problem to hold a summer festival out there to enjoy the beauty of architecture rather than ancestry worshipping in the middle of August, but the author should note that it is held at exterior space in the walkway — not at the main site. Also, I wonder why JT posted the tourist with photography at main news category.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, glad to see your comment at JT!
    I couldn’t have expressed it better myself. Unfortunately, JT blocked me from commenting at their site.

    Loverilkkuma, I dont care how Yasakuni is subdivided into land plots; the whole place it tainted by its dishonest, xenophobic, Japan-as-misunderstood liberator/victims and war-criminal associations. This article about Yasakuni represents a microcosm of Japan; dishonestly representing itself to the international audience, so that it can hold up the praise of these ill-informed and lied-to foreigners as ‘proof’ that the outside world agrees with the domestic right-wing’s distorted view of history and human rights.

    Tricking foreigners into approving a racist agenda deserves condemnation.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @JDG #3, the British National Party, to their eternal shame, attended an event a few years ago for right wing extreme parties at Yasukuni shrine. They must be very stupid, naive, or just paid lackeys because no one, not even a British pseudo Nazi, could surely see the sense in praising a former enemy state- the Japanese extreme Right’s- “distorted view of history”.

    But they did. I ll try to find out why. I did complain at their site, saying they could hardly call themselves British or Nationalist for attending Yasukuni, but natch, my comment was removed.


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