Total Pageviews

Thursday, April 24, 2014

THE ENIGMA THAT IS PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE

Shinzo Abe,  59, is President of the Liberal Democratic Party and the 63rd Prime Minister of modern (#1 was Hirobumi Ito from 1885-88) Japan.  Abe was also the 57nd, and started the string of six PMs who got booted out of office in less than two years.  He is popular enough that he will still be PM at the end of this year, marking that elusive two-year period.  Here is how long PMs have lasted since the end of World War II:


His mother is the daughter of Nobusuke Kishi, Prime Minister #37, who helped found the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 1950.  For the record, the LDP  is the equivalent of the Republican Party in the USA.  They are both conservative, pro-military and favor nuclear and fossil fuels over renewable energy.

After graduating from Seiki Elementary, High and University (in political science), Abe spent some time at the University of Southern California.  He was first elected into the Lower House in 1993.  He is an unabashed patriot and was the first sitting Prime Minister to visit Yasukuni Shrine (where 14 Class A World War II criminals are buried, with around 2.5 other casualties) since 2006, royally ticking off China and South Korea, and even the U.S.  He takes a hard line against North Korea and has been known to say comforting words to Taiwanese leaders supporting continued independence from China, while indicating that the Nanjing Massacre, more popularly referred in China as the Rape of Nanjing (the death toll of innocents could have been as high as 300,000), was a mere incident.  During his first PM term, he was quoted to say that Korean "comfort women" were not coerced into becoming sexual slaves of the Japanese Imperial Army.

Without a doubt, PM Abe is popular today for showing some backbone.  Yes, irritating the Chinese and Koreans is actually politically redeeming in Japan.  Further, the Nikkei has boomed since he took office in December of 2012, nearly doubling to 16,000 at one point until a recent decline:

However, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average flirts with another all time high in the 16,000s, note that Japan's Nikkei was once nearly 39,000 at the end of 1989.  And the ratio is even worse, for the real worth of 39,000 today would be 73,000.  Thus, the Japanese economy is, truly, not in great shape, and must still face the financial horror of Fukushima.  

Yet, Abe wants to significantly increase the military budget.  And, yes, he has continued his efforts to restore nuclear power, import more coal and turn his back on the aura of global warming.  Add on the fact that his regime increased the sales tax by 60%, from 5% to 8%, and is committed to 10% next year.  Incredibly, Abe's popularity increased 3% to 59%.  I'm perplexed.  For the past five years now, Rasmussen reports President Barack Obama popularity as below 50%.  And we have the strongest economy, are the only supreme power and will be largely leaving the Middle East wars.  Can someone explain to me what's happening???

Today, President Barack Obama met with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace:



Following, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama held a joint press conference:


Remember, this is the first American President to visit Japan in almost two decades.  Japan heard what it wanted regarding USA support for Japan's position on Senkaku Islands, but still discussed was a peaceful resolution with China as appropriate.  North Korea was mentioned as continuing to be abnormal and nothing much was stated about the Trans Pacific Partnership Pact.  No big surprise that Abe did not take my simple solution for his country.

-

No comments: