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(回答先: ＮＹタイムズ 「安倍首相、極めて不人気」「年金無視し、軍国主義復活に固執」 投稿者 小沢内閣待望論 日時 2007 年 8 月 01 日 19:42:06)
Mr. Abe on the Ropes
Published: August 1, 2007
Japan’s deeply unpopular prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is insisting that he won’t step down, even after his Liberal Democratic Party won only 37 of the 121 contested seats in the upper house of Parliament in last Sunday’s election. Mr. Abe is not legally required to go so as long as he holds on to the lower house majority, but the political message is clear: If he is determined to stay, he must change course.
That means spending far less energy promoting a strident revival of military nationalism and far more on delivering the kind of competence and clean government that made his predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, also a military nationalist, such an effective leader.
The election was not an explicit repudiation of Mr. Abe’s nationalist agenda, which includes denying wartime atrocities, shedding restraints on the military and revising Japan’s pacifist constitution. At a time when Japan’s chief international goal should be building healthy relations with its neighbors and trading partners like China and South Korea, flaying the unhealed wounds of Japanese militarism of the 1930s and ’40s is not a smart idea.
What bothered the voters was the feeling that reviving military spirits was all Mr. Abe cared about. He neglected essential issues like protecting the pension system in a rapidly aging society. And he further alienated voters by inviting back into power politicians Mr. Koizumi had banished as part of a campaign to root out old-style venality.
The big winners in Sunday’s election were the opposition Democrats, a party that shares the same center-right outlook, but not the burden of Mr. Abe’s 10-month record of ineptitude and scandal. If their win also means the emergence of a real two-party system, that will be good news for all Japanese.
For most of the postwar era, Japan has suffered from one-party government, which has fed a political culture of corruption and wasteful pork-barrel spending. Mr. Koizumi was popular because he confronted that culture head on. Mr. Abe surrendered to it, and is now paying the political price.
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