Shinzo Abe Returns As Japan’s Prime Minister
Image Credit: Office of the PM (Japan)

Shinzo Abe Returns As Japan’s Prime Minister


On Wednesday, Japan's parliament elected Shinzo Abe as prime minister, just as the nation faces the challenges of deflation, an aging population and a rising influence of China in the region.

The leader of the center-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) returned to power, defeating former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Democratic Party (DJP) after just three years in office.

The LDP was swept out of office by the DPJ in 2009, ending more than 50 years of nearly uninterrupted rule.

Abe’s promises to revive the economy include an aggressive monetary policy easing by the Bank of Japan, increased fiscal spending to beat deflation and steps to tame the strong yen to boost Japanese exports.

Abe won the support of 328 members of the 480-seat lower house against 57 in favor of DPJ's newly chosen leader Banri Kaieda, the AFP has reported.

"The LDP is still under the critical eyes of the public. We need to earn their trust by getting things done one by one," Abe told the party lawmakers ahead of the lower house vote.

"First on the agenda is economic recovery, beating deflation and correcting a firm yen and getting the economy back on the growth path. If we don't pursue this target, an upper house election next year will be a tough one for us,” he said.

Immediately after Wednesday’s vote, Abe unveiled a cabinet filled with relatively young and unknown faces.

Taro Aso, Former Prime Minister, was named finance minister and also received the financial services portfolio. Former Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari was appointed minister for economic revival and policy veteran Toshimitsu Motegi was appointed as trade minister. Motegi is expected to handle energy policy, one of the most-debated topics during the election campaign since the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Additionally, Abe’s loyal supporter,Yoshihide Suga, was appointed chief cabinet secretary.

"The economy, diplomacy, education and rebuilding in the northeast (hit by the 2011 tsunami, quake and nuclear disaster) are in a critical situation. I want to create a cabinet which can overcome this crisis," Abe told a news conference Tuesday.

"We have advocated beating deflation, correcting the strong yen and achieving economic growth during the election, so we must restore a strong economy," he said, adding that the stagnant economy was also undermining Japan's diplomatic clout.

Abe is expected to maintain a tough stance in confronting China with regard to an island dispute in the East China Sea and strengthening Tokyo’s relations with Washington.

Amrutha Gayathri is a reporter for the International Business Times, where this report first appeared.

December 31, 2012 at 08:54

Japan or anyone standing up to China's terroritorial claims must not sell it to China. It shows weakness and would allow China to continue this practice on all countries in Asia-Pacific region and replicate a result like this. People dont understand that all this debt and global recession is a cycle and it will eventually pass. Normally a war speeds the recovery as people then start to get hired for military logistic support
Another good way to lessen the amount of cycles is to get rid of private banks running countries (The Federal reserve in the US, RBA in Australia etc). problem with private banks is they don't get audit and god knows what they do with all that money.
On topic. Never sell to China…ever!!!! It like selling your soul to the "red horned creature" in the lake/pit of lave/fire.

John Chan
December 28, 2012 at 11:51

Japan has more USD than it needs, additional USD will make Yen stronger instead of weaker, and the end result will make Japanese goods further less competitive, Japanese export tanks and Japanese economy’s downward spiral accelerates.

December 27, 2012 at 11:58

I got an idea.  Japan could sell the Senkaku Islands to China for $1.2 Trillon Dollars (the amount that the U.S. debt that China owns), then all the issues will probably be solved automatically for Abe.  Economy will be boosted by the injection of the money. Yen would be depreciated.  There would be no more disputes with China over the islands. By the way, China can afford it, as they can simply transfer the ownership of the U.S. debts to Japan. 
(Just kidding.  :)

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