Countryaah.com, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took steps during the
year to remain in power. In March, the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) changed its rules to allow the party leader to
sit for three periods in three consecutive years instead of
two earlier periods. In early August, he carried out a
government transformation after Secretary of Defense Tomomi
Inada resigned following harsh criticism from Parliament.
She was replaced by Itsunori Onodera. There were also
changes in the heavy posts of Foreign Minister and Minister
of the Interior where Taro Kono and Seiko Noda took office.
Of all the ministers in the new government, only two were
women. However, the election held for the Legislative
Assembly in Tokyo in July became a hardship for LDP.
Instead, the election's big winner became the newly formed
party Tomin First, founded by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
At the end of September, Abe dissolved parliament and
announced elections until October 22. The reason why he ran
the election, which was otherwise expected to be held a year
later, was considered to be that Abe's chances of being
re-elected seemed good. His and LDP's opinion figures rose
during the summer while the Opposition Democratic Party
(DPJ) underwent a leadership crisis. In July, Renho Murata
resigned after less than a year at the party leader post. In
September, former party leader and Foreign Minister Seiji
Maehara was elected as her successor. Before the election,
however, a new party - Hope's Party - was launched with the
popular Yuriko Koike in the lead. To try to prevent Abe's
time in Japan's power being extended, DPJ decided that their
party members would run for Hope's party. The decision led
to a faction breaking out of the DPJ and forming the new
Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP), led by Yukio Edano.
DPJ was thus in practice dissolved. The election was a great
success for the LDP, which received 281 out of 465 seats,
and the party's coalition partner Komeito, who conquered 29
seats, giving the government two-thirds of the seats in the
House of Representatives in total. This allows Abe to change
the constitution so that the defense force, the so-called
self-defense forces, are formally recognized. Since World
War II, Japan has been characterized by pacifist currents.
The jump party got 50 seats, four fewer than the CDP. The
fact that the big successes did not materialize was
explained by many with the fact that the party leader Yuriko
Koike did not himself candidate. She therefore resigned as
party leader in November.
Foreign policy was the focus of the growing nuclear
threat from North Korea. In April, US Vice President Mike
Pence visited Tokyo and assured that the United States would
continue to guarantee Japan's security. By then, three of
North Korea's test missiles had already landed in sea areas
that are part of Japan's territory. In August, North Korea
fired a test missile that passed over the Japanese island of
Hokkaido and then landed in the sea, triggering severe
reactions in Japan. The following month, another North
Korean missile passed over Japan. The North Korean
provocations were seen as a reaction to the US and Japan
holding a joint defense exercise at Hokkaido. The threat
from neighboring countries prompted Japan to set up and
activate US-made missile defense systems.
In December, the news came that Japan in the 2018 budget
again increased its defense funding. The same month, new
sanctions were imposed on North Korea. In December, a direct
communication channel between the defense forces in Japan
and China was also decided as a way to reduce the risk of
military conflict in the disputed East China Sea.
In November, Prime Minister Abe announced that Emperor
Akihito (born 1933) will abdicate April 30, 2019. The next
day, Crown Prince Naruhito is expected to take over the
throne after his father.
Feudalism, capitalism, socialism
Both collectivism and verticality point strongly in the
feudal direction, although certain features of property
relations resemble capitalism. But at the same time, Japan
also has strong features in common with the former socialist
countries of Eastern Europe - especially central planning.
There is state-capitalist cooperation between private firms
and government ministries far beyond what is in the West,
better thought out, more long-term and one could almost say,
far more intelligent. One reason for the latter is that in
Japan, the universities' best candidates go to the state,
the second-ranking business graduates, and the remaining
remain at the university - which can be felt; In the West,
it's the exact opposite - which can also be felt. An
important negotiation between state delegations from Japan
and a country in the West is therefore a meeting on a very
different basis: the Japanese will usually not only be
superior, but also superior enough to be able to hide this.
As a welfare society, Japan works well for the one
assured in a company or similar. and have family; But very
bad for anyone who falls outside this pattern - especially
the older ones. Suicide rates are also particularly high
among older women. And the position of women is strongly
reminiscent of e.g. Denmark in the last century, but with a
very important difference: they have great power in the
home. It is e.g. It is common for the woman to receive the
salary and to give the man pocket money, which he then goes
for (with bar girls). Marriage will continue to be arranged
through a third party. The initiative can come from
anywhere, as long as it looks like the third party - often a
director or a professor - is the one behind it. It is common
in Japan to say: "Our marriages begin" arranged "and evolve
into love marriages; in the West, it's the other way around.
A system which in this way unites feudal, capitalist and
socialist features - to re-apply Western categories - has
both strengths and weaknesses. The strength is clear, we
have already seen it. The weakness is, among other things, a
certain blindness, a lack of internal control by the
population because it remains very loyal to the management -
ie. the Conservative government. Another weakness is that
the Japanese themselves seem to be losing some of the
enthusiasm for the model and are becoming increasingly
interested in being less clever, productive and
collectivistic. They become more interested in finding their
own style, more in touch with nature and art, and with all
the strict and simple but demanding aesthetics that
characterize all Japanese art.