Why Shinzo Abe Needs Early Elections?

The early elections to the lower house of parliament will be held in Japan on October 22. Feeling his low rating, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to take advantage of the fact, that on the wave of anti-North Korean hysteria and the natural unification of the Japanese people around the leadership in connection with the apparent threat, he can provide his Liberal Democratic Party with a majority in parliament, receiving 2/3 of the votes, says Andrey Fesyun, Academic Director of the HSE “Oriental Studies" Bachelor's Program.

"Abe announced the elections in order to preserve the majority, which guarantees his premiership for a third term, and apparently, he keeps bargaining chip. He caught his opponents by surprise, whom he practically does not have now. The Democratic Party lies in ruins, and the "Party of Hope", headed by Yuriko Koike, the mayor of Tokyo, is new and has neither political experience nor sufficient support in political circles," the expert said in an interview with www.valdaiclub.com.

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democrats and the Komeito Party needs to get 2/3 of the votes or 310 seats in the lower house for a qualified majority, when it can adopt amendments to the constitution. This is quite realistic, and therefore Abe can calmly plan his actions for the next premiership, Andrey Fesyun believes.

What Shinzo Abe is going to do? According to the expert, many are afraid that he will change the constitution, change the peaceful 9th article, militarize the country. But even with a qualified majority Abe Shinzo is not going to return Japan to its militaristic past. "He will do in a smarter and thinner way; he will change the interpretation of constitutional articles, the so-called comments to the constitution. And he will do the same without the hardest process of changing the constitution, which requires a nationwide referendum, adoption by two-thirds in both chambers of the parliament, discussions in the country," Fesyun said.

As for the economy, the most acute problem is the increase in the consumer goods tax to 10 percent, otherwise, according to Abe, in the current economic situation, Japan due to the aging population and low birth rate cannot develop without additional sources of income. And this unpopular measure is quite up to the Prime Minister of Japan.

As to Japanese foreign policy, it is unlikely that anything will be changed and relations with other countries will be built through the prism of relations with the United States. "But what should Japan do in view of Donald Trump's reluctance to continue to protect the country completely, as it was before? He says that it is necessary to optimize the presence of the US armed forces in Japan and in the Asian continent, that it is necessary to raise the level of material responsibility of South Korea and Japan for the American nuclear umbrella, that Japan and South Korea should acquire more American weapons. "

Japan begins to understand that the main factor in the modern world are nuclear weapons, Fesyun believes. Japanese politicians and nuclear scientists have repeatedly indicated that, if necessary, nuclear weapons in Japan can be created in a month or two. "Is there enough time, if a war breaks out? This is another question. Japan does not have yet large and medium-range missiles, strike submarines, its armament is purely defensive," the expert said.

Basically no changes will take place in relations of Japan with Russia, South Korea, North Korea and China. "The main point will be trade, if we mean China, a territorial dispute, if we mean Russia, and the North Korean problem, if we mean South Korea. These three points will remain unchanged," Fesyun concluded.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.