Political Malaise in Japan: Leader of Main Opposition Party Resigns

Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The current leader of Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is under pressure because of cronyism, scandals, and other negative factors. Yet, despite the negative political approval ratings of Abe and being questioned seriously within the chambers of power, the main opposition party is equally under pressure. Therefore, Renho, the leader of the Democratic Party (DP), announced her resignation based on poor political showings and deplorable ratings according to several political polls.

In truth, the resignation of Renho, and the current pressure that Abe finds himself in is all part and parcel of the political malaise of Japan. Indeed, from endless negative economic growth to little economic growth over several decades, to a declining birth rate over the same decades but with little done, then Japan needs genuine reinvigoration.

Despite the need to foster “a new vibrant Japan” and foster a society with a bright future, it seems that little is being done to galvanize the situation. Of course, Japan can find money to squander on foreign projects and fund major international institutions including the United Nations and International Monetary Fund, but closer to home many people are facing poverty and an uncertain future.

Hence, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the DP under Renho did abysmally during the recent Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election. At the same time, Abe and Renho have negative to deplorable ratings respectively according to several recent opinion polls taken in Japan.

Renho said, We have taken the offensive against the Abe administration and forced it in a difficult position. But if we are not recognized as an alternative force, it will just spread public distrust in both ruling and opposition parties.”

If truth were told, then her position was untenable after the DP won a paltry 5 seats out of a possible 127 seats that were up for grabs during the recent election in Tokyo. On top of this, polls suggest that the DP is disapproved of by just over 90 percent of people questioned. This ridiculously high rate applies despite the current pressure on Abe.

In relation to Abe, the Modern Tokyo Times recently stated, Abe must learn from the election in Tokyo because of recent events in the United Kingdom in relation to the European Union, the changing political landscape in France, and other international political events show that discontent can easily move into a vacuum. It waits to be seen how Abe will respond to recent political setbacks, ongoing investigations into scandals, and the feeling of political arrogance towards the electorate. Yet, clearly, the sands are moving for Abe from the apparent plain sailings of last year.”

Overall, it appears that Japan is in a period of political malaise. Therefore, the majority of the electorate views neither leader of the ruling and main opposition parties positively. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of people according to approval rating polls distrust Abe and Renho respectively – therefore, Renho decided to resign.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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