Can Shinzo Abe Make Good on His Promises in Japan?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s easy re-election may belie increasing public dissatisfaction with his administration’s policies. Abe will need to exert extra effort in his new term to implement successful economic reforms, gain approval for his proposal to reopen nuclear power plants, and advance controversial defense policies.
By Kunihiro Shimoji
January 15, 2015
In 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will continue to advance an ambitious foreign and domestic policy agenda to stimulate economic growth, foster energy security, and reform defense programs in Japan. Yet in order to deliver on promises made during the first two years of his government, Abe will need to rebuild public confidence not just in his policies but in himself.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Abe’s Komeito coalition won a landslide victory in December and secured a two-thirds majority in the parliament’s lower house. The election was held after Abe dissolved the lower house to see how the public viewed his economic policy agenda, particularly his consumption tax increase. Despite the election being decided heavily in Abe’s favor, polling both before and after the election revealed that the Japanese public did not necessarily support Abe’s policies. A pre-election poll conducted by Nikkei in December showed an even split between those approving and disapproving of the LDP, which suggests that a large number of Japanese are still skeptical about Abe’s policy agenda. Nikkei‘s postelection poll revealed that 85% of the Japanese public believed the success of the coalition was largely a product of the weakness of the opposition party.