Post by Deleted on Aug 30, 2020 8:17:05 GMT
I was honestly taken by surprise when PM Abe announced resignation, although there was a rumor of him doing so since he visited hospital earlier this month. Even the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga spoke to Bloomberg on the day before Abe's resignation that he would serve until the end of his term next year.
As for his nearly eight year of term, in my opinion, he left a lot to be desired as a Prime Minister: his career was totally tarnished by seemingly endless scandals he was allegedly involved in, and it disappointed me how he seemed careless about preserving official documents and adhering to the Constitution.
He wasn't able to get around to working on all the big political issues that he always said he would be tackling on, either. One of them was the return of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean government in 1970s-80s, and the amendment of Japanese Constitution was another.
Constitutional amendment has been the biggest talking point among conservatives in the postwar Japan, especially because the current Constitution involves Article 9, which has put much limitation on what Self-Defense Force is allowed to do (and the reason the existence of SDF itself has been questioned by scholars and left-wing activists as unconstitutional). Although I think I'm rather left-leaning in Japanese political spectrum, I'm fundamentally in favor of amendments as long as it serves to protect our lives from external threats and our rights from unwarranted governmental oppression, but unfortunately, the draft amendment the Liberal Democratic Party proposed in 2012 (shortly before Abe's administration started) was a huge cause for worry regarding civil rights, i.e. the government would be able to ban any speech or gatherings that would "harm public interest and order".
Besides, I couldn't help but have an impression that LDP lawmakers lack the basic understanding of how Constitution works - something you're supposed to learn in high school social studies class - for example, in this comic published by LDP to promote Constitutional amendment cited Darwin's evolution theory as the reason why we should amend Constitution. After all, I think PM Abe ruined the chance of amending Constitution by acknowledging that the Constitution grants the government the right to collective self-defense in 2014, which all previous administrations had negated, proving there was no urgent need to amend constitution. (This is such a complicated mess of an issue, so excuse me if my explanation is not sufficient.)
And here's some observation on why he decided to quit: although Japan has done fairly well (in comparison with other big countries of the world) during the ongoing pandemic, his coronavirus policies were not very popular: reportedly there were a lot of defective ones among the cloth masks the government distributed earlier this year (whose size was not large enough in the first place), and he encouraged people to travel by subsidizing travelers last month, when the second wave was starting to kick in. As a result, the disapproval rate of his administration increase, reaching half of the population. Although I still think his health is the biggest reason he quit (as he said), but probably the receding supports he receives from people had something to do with his final decision.
That being said, I have to give a shoutout to him for one thing: though his party had a great majority of both parliaments, he at least didn't seek outright authoritarian regime unlike Putin and Xi. And that's what I worry about my country's future. Once a competent and popular Prime Minister, who has authoritrian agenda in their mind, gains the majority of the parliaments, I don't think it would be all too hard for Japan to stoop to an authoritarian country where civil freedom is oppressed, especially when I see the worrisome news of people being vigilantes over coronavirus pandemic i.e. harassing coronavirus patients, vandalizing their houses and threatening businesses to close; in other words, I think we still have a hotbed to support authoritarian/totalitarian regime, and it's not to be taken for granted that our society has never really been thoroughly authoritarian in the past 75 years.