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Grading Abe’s flailing leadership and policy drift

12 1 0
16.09.2017

As this is my penultimate Counterpoint column, it’s time to give Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a report card for his nearly five years in office. Overall, I give him a D+ because he has not been a total failure and he shows up for work. But he also has not delivered on most of his promises and pledges, and, as I’ve detailed in previous columns, has been a disaster on transparency, governance, “womenomics,” hatemongering, immigration, press freedom, nuclear energy and historical issues.

For most sentient beings in Japan, Abenomics is a bust. There are many good reasons why 83 percent of the public doesn’t trust Abe, and even his crack team of spin doctors is finding it harder and harder to bamboozle the Japanese about the empty suit parading as a leader.

Abe’s stealthy revision of the Constitution by reinterpretation adds perspective to Finance Minister Taro Aso’s praise for how the Nazis furtively revised theirs in the 1930s. Retaining Aso after two pro-Nazi gaffes — most recently giving a shout-out to Adolf Hitler for his good intentions — is despicable. Standing by Defense Minister Tomomi Inada way after it was obvious she had to go and protecting her from Diet scrutiny for her role in a cover-up is also inexcusable.

It is equally striking that for a leader who has faced a weak, divided opposition and has enjoyed a commanding majority in both houses of the Diet, Abe has accomplished astonishingly little on many of the key challenges facing Japan. Abe, Japan’s most ideological post-World War II premier, has instead spent considerable energy on rewriting history and trying to revise the Constitution. He hides behind Abenomics, but overturning the postwar order is........

© The Japan Times