Japan Sought a Safe Haven in Reelecting Abe

Daniel Russel on Bloomberg

Bloomberg Interview Abe Re-Election

On October 22, 2017, ASPI diplomat-in-residence Daniel Russel sat down with Bloomberg's "Daybreak: Asia" to talk about the recent re-election of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and what it means for Japan.

Russel explains that factors such as tensions over North Korea, the global economy, an unprecedented American president, and the rise of China have driven voters toward Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). “If you take a step back, what you see is [that] the Japanese public really sought a safe haven in times of uncertainty,” adds Russel. “The opposition was divided; it was confused. And so landing back where they started with Shinzo Abe made a lot of sense.”

Regarding Abe’s plan to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution, particularly Article 9 which calls for the renunciation of war, Russel says that the Prime Minister is not proposing to “jettison” the Article, but rather, to "make an amendment to the existing language of the constitution on augmentation that would essentially legitimize the reality that there is a standing Japanese military.” Whether Abe has the political backing to revise the constitution remains to be seen, however. (4 min., 2 secs)

Watch the full interview.

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