Moreshead ’11: ‘Trouble ahead? LDP’s victory in Japan’

[Colin Moreshead '11] Living in Tokyo, Colin Moreshead ’11 writes a freelance piece for China-US Focus exploring the possible ways in which the recent victory of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, although expected, may prove a complicating factor in relations between the United States and China.

“The landslide victory of Shinzō Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party over the reigning Democratic Party of Japan was an outcome that was widely predicted, but the gravitas of this tectonic shift in Japanese politics is yet unknown. Early indicators suggest that Abe’s administration will complicate the Sino-US relationship and aggravate tensions in East Asia.

“Japan’s Lower House election on December 16th was effectively a referendum on the wildly unpopular policies of the incumbent DPJ and the sitting prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda. After taking office in September, 2011, Mr. Noda made tackling Japan’s gargantuan public debt a top priority and successfully passed a plan to significantly raise consumption taxes. Abe and the LDP rallied the opposition by tapping into voter frustration over tax increases during a recession; Abe’s promises to stimulate the economy and weaken the yen were his most successful weapons on the campaign trail.

“However, Chinese and South Korean policymakers are worried that the new prime minister’s agenda may extend beyond the domestic economy – namely that his conservative politics will exacerbate longstanding diplomatic issues with Beijing and Seoul.…”

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Image: via Colin Moreshead.

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