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Spotlight on Japan: Return of ‘Abenomics’, More Militarism, Tougher China Line; Outlook for Yen and Nikkei

Courtesy of Mish.

The Japanese election hands former prime minister Shinzo Abe a chance for redemption according to The Guardian.

Japan’s voters appear to have short memories. Shinzo Abe, who is assured of becoming prime minister after his party’s resounding victory in Sunday’s election, last led the country in 2006, but stepped down after a troubled year in office.

The official reason given for his abrupt resignation was a chronic bowel ailment, which the leader, 58, says he now controls with a new drug. But his health condition may have been a cover. Abe’s first administration was marred by scandals and gaffes. Months before he quit, his Liberal Democratic party [LDP] suffered a heavy defeat in upper house elections.

Sunday’s resounding election victory has given him one last shot at redemption, as only the second Japanese politician to serve twice as prime minister since the war.

Behind Abe’s soft-spoken manner and aristocratic background lurks a fervent nationalist, which led one liberal commentator to describe him as “the most dangerous politician in Japan”.

Abe has often said he went into politics to help Japan “escape the postwar regime” and throw off the shackles of wartime guilt. In its place he has talked of creating a “beautiful Japan” defended by a strong military and guided by a new sense of national pride.

Abe’s biggest ideological influence was his maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who was arrested, but never charged, for alleged war crimes. He went on to become prime minister in the late 1950s.

Decades later, confronted with an aggressive China and nuclear-armed North Korea, Abe is eager to fulfil his grandfather’s dream of giving Japan’s military the teeth he believes it has been denied by the country’s postwar pacifism.

More Militarism, Preposterous Denial

The BBC reports Shinzo Abe vows tough China line

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says that as many predicted, Japan has taken a sharp turn to the right.

Mr Noda lost over his move to double sales tax, something he said was necessary to tackle Japan’s massive debt.

By contrast, Mr Abe has promised more public spending, looser monetary policy, and to allow nuclear energy a role to play in resource-poor Japan’s future despite last year’s nuclear disaster at Fukushima.



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