“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition cruised to a big election win on Sunday [December 124], ensuring he will stick to reflationary economic policies and a muscular security stance”, Reuters reported, late in the evening, on December 14. The same open source also reported „NHK public TV said Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and junior partner the Komeito party were assured more than the 317 seats in the 475-member lower house required to maintain a two-thirds ‘super-majority’ that smoothes parliamentary business”[1].

“The decision to hold snap elections came amidst looming economic data as Japan’s economy sank into recession in the third quarter, raising serious concerns about the effectiveness of the government’s economic policy.”, The Diplomat reported on December 4, 2014[2], 10 days before the elections briefly presented above. Two days before, CNN stated: “Abe is painting the December 14 election as a referendum on his economic policies, the much-vaunted "three arrows" of "Abenomics," the stimulus and economic reform package upon which the leader has staked his reputation”[3].

Apart from seeking recognition for the internal status quo of his political influence, consisting of a weak opposition and a large supportive majority in parliament, PM Shinzo Abe’s expected victory was, at the end of the first week of December 2014, according to The Economist, “Japan’s best bet”[4] to achieve the desperately needed economic reform. As The Wall Street Journal added, “Mr. Abe’s gamble in calling a vote gives the public a chance to render a verdict on his program to revitalize Japan, which has brought a booming stock market and job gains but recently bogged down in two quarters of contraction”[5]

While the international debates cannot conclude over the efficiency or inefficiency of Abe’s “arrows”, Shinzo Abe calls for the public support to legitimize his future economic policies. In 2012, Abenomics was a long-awaited response from the newly elected PM, Shinzo Abe, who hoped to provide a solution for a sustainable recovery of the Japanese economy. After two years of deep economic reforms, Abe reacts to critics and gambles his position, in snap elections, as a deliberate act “to save the economy from falling back into the doldrums”[6]. The outcome of the Japan’s snap elections represents a matter of concern for both China and South Korea as it could announce a new Japanese Foreign Policy in Asia. A stronger economy might bring Japan back in front, fighting for regional influence and, at the same time, it might represent, for the other Asian states, an alternative to balance the dangerous and assertive increase of the Chinese national power.

[1] “UPDATE 1-Abe coalition secures big Japan election win with record low turnout”, Reuters, December 14, 2014, at the Internet address

[2] Stratos POURZITAKIS, “Shinzo Abe’s Election Gamble”, The Diplomat, December 4, 2014, at the Internet address

[3] Euan McKIRDY and Yoko WAKATSUKI, “Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s election gamble puts policies on the line”, CNN, December 2, 2014, at the Internet address

[4] “Abe’s last chance”, The Economist, December 6, 2014, at the Internet address

[5] Toko SEKIGUCHI and George NISHIYAMA, ”Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Calls Snap Election”, The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2014, at the Internet address

[6] Ibidem

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