Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




POLITICAL ECONOMY
New Japan PM faces tests on diplomacy, economy
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 26, 2012


Shinzo Abe.

Japan's new premier faces a long to-do list as he takes office Wednesday, including mending ties with Asian neighbours and reviving a limp economy that bedevilled previous governments, analysts say.

High on the agenda for Shinzo Abe will be addressing prickly relations with China and South Korea, which greeted his rise to power with alarm after a series of hardline comments on territorial disputes and a conservative position on sensitive issues linked to Japan's imperialist past.

Tokyo is embroiled in bitter rows over separate island chains claimed by Beijing and Seoul, which have raised their eyebrows at Abe's musings about revising Japan's post-World War II pacifist constitution.

However Abe, who has been premier before, is unlikely to follow through on his hard-right rhetoric at least until he solidifies his power base after elections in Japan's upper house of parliament next year, said Jiro Yamaguchi, a politics professor at Hokkaido University.

Abe botched the diplomatic file during his lacklustre 2006-2007 tenure in Japan's top political job, sparking controversy by saying he wanted to review the country's previous admissions over the touchy issue of wartime sex slavery.

He argued there was no evidence Japan's imperial army directly coerced thousands of so-called "comfort women" into brothels across Asia during World War II, prompting a call from US lawmakers for a fresh apology from Tokyo.

The now 58-year-old leader quickly backpedalled, saying he supported Japan's landmark 1993 apology over the comfort women issue, expressing similar sympathies during a visit to the United States five years ago.

"If he makes those kinds of gaffes again by professing his conservative beliefs, Japan would be isolated from the rest of the world," said Yamaguchi, a former key policy advisor for the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which was booted from power this month.

"Voters didn't give him a mandate to pursue his conservative policy agenda but they wanted to punish the DPJ for its various policy failures," he added, referring to the national elections earlier this month.

But even Abe conceded the victory -- based largely on promises to inject life into Japan's moribund economy while getting tough on diplomacy -- was far from a resounding show of support for his LDP.

The party had ruled Japan for most of the past six decades until the DPJ's historic electoral upset in 2009 with promises to shake up Japan's staid political scene.

However, the DPJ stumbled due to policy flip-flops, a failure to turn around the economy and a sometimes confused response to last year's quake-tsunami disaster, which sparked the worst atomic accident in a generation.

"The DPJ failed to realise its own election pledge for social equality and improving peoples' quality of life as the gap between rich and poor widened," said Shigeki Uno, a professor of political thought at Tokyo University.

The world's third-largest economy has been hit hard by financial turmoil in Europe, an export-sapping strong yen and a diplomatic row with China that weighed on trade, dousing hopes Japan had cemented a recovery after last year's disasters.

Tokyo is also grappling with a public debt that is more than double gross domestic product, the worst in the industrialised world and a debt mountain that keeps growing as a rapidly ageing population leans on the social security system.

Abe pledged to boost Japan's fortunes by pressing the central bank to take more aggressive monetary policy measures while promising a huge government spending package worth about $118 billion.

The incoming leader met the head of the Bank of Japan last week, calling on him to strike a policy deal with government.

Two days later, the BoJ announced fresh monetary easing measures, a move widely seen as stoked by comments from Abe who appeared to challenge the central bank's independence.

However, Abe's prescription to cure Japan's woes has been dismissed by some economists as likely to worsen the fiscal situation while doing little to boost growth, especially if the money disappears into white elephant projects.

Another key challenge for the new administration is whether to embrace or reject the pork-barrel politics honed under successive LDP regimes, said Hiroshi Hirano, politics professor at Gakushuin University.

Joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional free trade deal that has sparked ire in the protected agricultural sector among others, would help force long-called-for structural change in Japan's economy, Hirano said.

"Japan needs a truly functioning growth strategy that prompts industrial sector restructuring," he said.

"But this would collide with demands from vested interest groups.

"If the LDP wants to address the needs of these traditional support groups by spending on infrastructure, for example, it has to show it has the bankroll."

.


Related Links
The Economy






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





POLITICAL ECONOMY
China warns of rising financial risks
Beijing (AFP) Dec 26, 2012
China's financial system is facing increasing risks due to soaring bank loans, with lending to the property sector and local governments a particular concern, the finance ministry warned Wednesday. Bank lending has been rising "at a high speed" in recent years and the quality is yet to be tested, Li Yong, vice finance minister, was quoted in a statement as saying. "There are rather high ... read more


POLITICAL ECONOMY
China suspends officials after 11 kids die in road wreck

'No Christmas' for Philippine typhoon victims

Christmas misery in Haiti camp, three years after quake

360,000 Haitians still displaced after 2010 quake: IOM

POLITICAL ECONOMY
2012: Consumer tech takes center stage

Molecular levers may make materials better

Netflix blames Amazon for Christmas Eve outage

Turbopump Bearing Blamed For Failed Russian Comsat Orbiting

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Spanish consumers prefer national fish

Study reveals that animals contribute to seagrass dispersal

Slab of Barrier Reef sea floor breaking off: scientists

Study: Hawaiian island slowly dissolving

POLITICAL ECONOMY
W. Antarctic warming among world's fastest

Antarctic ice sheet warming faster than thought: study

NASA's Operation IceBridge Data Brings New Twist to Sea Ice Forecasting

Chief's hunger strike fuels Canada aboriginal drive

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Small wasps to control a big pest?

Unraveling the threads: Simplest cotton genome offers clues for fiber improvements

Biologists design method to monitor global bee decline

A new, super-nutritious puffed rice for breakfast cereals and snacks

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Olympics: Putin orders Sochi check after quake

Four dead as heavy rains flood Iraq capital

Thousands flee Malaysia floods, dam wall broken

Typhoon-hit Philippines threatened by new storm

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Chad lifts expulsion order against critical Italian bishop

Mali Islamists destroying more Timbuktu mausoleums

Peacekeepers warn of potential catastrophe in Darfur

Outside View: Tunisia's path ahead

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Scientists construct first map of how the brain organizes everything we see

Do palm trees hold the key to immortality?

Study: Human hands evolved as weapons

US shooting revives debate over videogame violence




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement