Monday, August 31, 2015

Very Kind Of Him #61

"Yui-san, I see you are flanked by two U.S. astronauts. This would be a perfect time for you to express your indignation at Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's recent visit to Etorofu!"

I'm not the man they think I am at all
Oh, no, no, no.
I'm a Rocket Man!

- Elton John & Bernie Taupin, "Rocket Man" (1972)
Andy Sharp of Bloomberg News has a bulletin out on the seeming contradiction between weekend's protests against the collective security legislation, the recent spate of truly crappy economic news and the rise in support for the Cabinet in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun's latest poll. He quotes me in the piece thusly:
"Abe has weathered a hot summer, both inside and outside the Diet building," said Michael Cucek, an adjunct professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. "It seemed for Abe the news could not get any worse, and then it happened: the news did not get any worse,” he said, adding that Abe seems to be "levitating in contempt of the normal downward pull of political gravity."

The crucial relationship is between the words "seems" and "to be levitating." Abe is not actually levitating. He does not have to: he is standing atop a lit multi-stage rocket.

The stages are:

First: a disengaged, disenchanted and lethargic electorate

Second: no major economic proposals promising better results than Abenomics

Third: no major rivals within the LDP

Fourth: no House of Representatives elections necessary for 3 1/2 years;

Fifth: almost suicidally fissionable opposition parties / no appreciable support for an opposition capable of seizing the reins of government (Tie)

There are likely more stages below these, hidden in the clouds.

Original image courtesy: Abe Shinzo Facebook page.


Anonymous said...

So, at this rate Japan has 3+ more years of 'leadership' which will take it further and further away from resolving its demographic/economic challenges. And 3+ more years of increasing alienation from its two main neighbors of China and S Korea.

NOT a very rosy picture, indeed! UNLESS the demonstrations on Sunday mark a shift in the country's tolerance of Abe......

MTC said...

Anonymous -

* The demographic and economic challenges are being met by women entering the workforce, the pattern for the last 25 years. At some point, and if you look at the labor force participation rate charts you know it will be relatively soon, the well of surplus labor will run dry, forcing a reallocation of resources. It is going to be done through increased wages rather than government policy.

The sad aspects of this are:

1) the use of prices to allocate resources are brutal
2) the sitting government will take credit for changes it itself in no way encouraged or discouraged

The good aspect of this is:

3) it will march right through any facetious or vain attempts for politicians to hold back change.

** Abe is prime minister for the next 3 years if he wants to be, or if his body lets him.

4) Alienation from China and the ROK depend upon the goals and attitudes of the leaders of those two nations. It is not dependent upon Abe.

Prior to becoming PM again Abe talked a lot about leading radical change. In three years as LDP president and 2 1/2 years as PM he has found that a PM and his staff can work like hell,day in and day out, and get almost nothing accomplished.

Unless he is absolutely dim he has come to realize he has three years ahead of him to get an equal amount of nothing accomplished.