fourth round of Abe government was organized in the hard circumstances: a
possibility is seen of a second summit meeting between the top leaders of the
United States and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), following the
third talks of North-South leaders of the Korean Peninsula, the US
administration pressed the Japanese government to negotiate bilaterally in the
FTA (free trade agreement) basis and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost
in the Okinawa gubernatorial election. The Abe government has managed to set up
the cabinet under these unpleasant currents. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Abe
is determined firmly to revise the constitution. Vulnerability lies in weakness
of the opposite political forces.
PARTIES MUST BE READY SPEEDILY
cabinet arranged under difficult circumstances
recent presidency election held inside the LDP has proven that Mr. Ishiba Shigeru,
a sole contestant against the incumbent leader, received much more votes than
expected. Premier Abe faces threatening stance of US President Trump under which he
has to begin FTA talks. Three parties of US, DPRK and Republic of Korea (ROK)
advance steadily toward a goal to end the Korean War by agreeing on a
declaration to terminate armistice. The Japanese premier’s provocation slowly
loses impact, although he stirs up ‘North’s threats’. And recently he was
beaten in the Okinawa gubernatorial election.
these factors lie in front of him, Premier Abe Shinzo goes straightly to
rewriting the Constitution in which he should paralyze Article Nine. His government
will end in September 2021. Therefore, he will do everything he can so that his
influence may be retained until a time when the constitution should be altered;
he will employ steps to throw money about despite the harsh financial deficit,
disregarding political responsibilities.
look at the new cabinet members. Mr. Kato Katsunobu is chosen as Director of
the General Affairs Section of the LDP, which is the highest decision-making organ.
Mr. Shimomura Hirofumi, is assigned as Director of the Headquarters to Promote
Constitution Amendment, and Mr. Amari Akira, Chairman of the Election Strategy
Commission in charge of state-level elections and plebiscites. They are underlings
and close allies of Mr. Abe.
a coalition partner of the LDP, the Komeito, has repeatedly committed in
illicit acts, which is regarded worse than those of the LDP. Though dissatisfactions
prevail extensively inside the Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist association supporting
the Komeito, the party leadership will prefer a path to share fate in common
with the LDP in the state politics.
revision is the key issue of the ruling class. If they hurry up too much in
preparing for a referendum, they may be forced abruptly to speed down. The
Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, judging from a rapid decline of the support rate of
the Abe’s cabinet, raised an article last spring to criticize hasty actions of
the government in presenting the issue to the Diet. The Abe’s version of alteration
was not approved in the LDP’s national congress.
situation is different from that of past spring when the Abe’s tenure
approached to an end. Prime Minister Abe is to kill the second clause of
Article Nine so that the right of collective self-defense may be fully
executed. For this purpose he will mobilize all of pro-amendment forces and use
media agencies, elaborately planning to win the plebiscite. Even with a
slightest margin the government will manage to come first.
forces must prepare counter-measures
governorship election in Okinawa has resulted
in a success, thanks to the unity of opposition political parties to oppose the
on-going work to build a new military base at Henoko in the northern region of
the island. As far as strategies for the coming election of the House of
Councilors are concerned, however, opposition parties have not yet arranged a
clear policy package: in particular, in the fields of taxation and social
services which attract attention of the electorate who need countermeasures
against the Abe government. We, voters, cannot defeat the ruling bloc merely by
way of a catchphrase to ‘object the Abe’s Constitution amendment plan’.
Minister Abe does not refer to a surge to 10% in the consumption tax rate scheduled
in October 2019, cautiously coping with reactions to his plan. When the tax
rate is heightened, the government will mitigate people’s indignation by
subsidizing preferentially to purchases of residences and vehicles or by
reducing other taxes. It will compile a budget which will contain an
extraordinary sum to throw money about.
the other hand, however, the business and media circles press the government to
increase the tax ‘after 10%’, emphasizing ‘sound financial management’ and
reforms in the public services. Opposition parties look as if they were removed
from these contentions. If they claim, ‘objection to tax increases and
successes in financial management’, that will not work to condemn the government.
Edano Yukio, the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP), told during his lecture
delivered October 5, that ‘we will curb the consumption tax rate, while discuss
raising corporate taxes. We will not support the austerity policy’.
welcome his idea.
parties need to present policies ‘to carry out good public services by
enhancing the progressive taxation and to reduce the rate of consumption tax to
opposition forces do not easily side with the CDP as they have been traumatized
by the former Democratic Party, the precedent body of the CDP, which dared to heighten
the consumption tax rate.
get united first with groups objecting increases in the consumption tax rate
and fight together in the coming Upper House election.