Can Abe do whatever he wants in his "super-long reign"?

China Military Online
Huang Panyue

BEIJING, Nov. 2 (ChinaMil) -- The governing coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komei Party that won the election of Japan's House of Representatives held a special session on Wednesday to elect the prime minister and the speaker and deputy speaker of the house.

The incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was re-elected as Japan's prime minister by a majority vote in both chambers of the Japanese parliament .

Analysts said after the election at the House of Representatives, the situation that the Japanese political circle was dominated by one strong figure was reinforced.

Abe may seek a "super-long reign" and move faster to revise the constitution, but a series of problems still exist within his administration, and he cannot have his own way all the time, analysts pointed.

The governing coalition held a 39-day special session on November 1 and Abe was re-elected as the prime minister by the two houses that day.

Abe will form a new cabinet according to common practice, but Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced on the afternoon of November 1 that all cabinet members will stay.

Analysts said the dissolution of the largest opposition party The Democratic Party and the division of other parties scattered the anti-Abe votes.

This not only made the LDP win the election at the House of Representatives, but also worsened the one-figure domination of the Japanese political circle, analysts noted.

Asahi Shimbun reported that after the election, The Democratic Party still had 46 senators and 18 house members who were elected as non-Party affiliates, so it would continue to exist. Its former president Seiji Maehara resigned after losing the election and Kohei Otsuka took his place.

Katsuya Okada, former president of the opposition party who was elected a house member as a non-Party affiliate, and former prime minister Yoshihiko Noda created the "association of non-Party members" and sought to cooperate with the Constitutional Democratic Party and the Party of Hope, said the report.

But Asahi Shimbun analyzed that Constitutional Democratic Party is quite passive about the cooperation proposal while the Party of Hope has intensive intra-Party conflicts because of the loss of election. Therefore, the three forces won't be able to forge a cooperative relationship in the near term.

Owing to the scandal about the Moritomo Gakuen and Kake Educational Institution, the Abe administration's support rate fell below 30 percent at one time.

Abe reorganized the cabinet in August and made personnel adjustments of high-level LDP officials in order to change the situation, and announced to dissolve the House of Representatives for an election in September when opposition parties were not fully prepared yet.

Japanese media pointed out that the victory of the governing coalition in the election, especially that fact that the LDP had over half the seats in the House of Representatives, gave Abe more confidence to hold the office for a long time. He will continue to seek re-election in the LDP next year and has moved faster to revise the constitution.

However, analysts held that although Abe seemed successful and has shifted from a defensive to an offensive stance, that doesn't mean he has solved all the problems faced by his administration, or that he will always have his way about the constitutional revision.

First, the Abe-led LDP is in a subtle relation with its ruling partner -- the Komei Party.

They have disagreements on the issue of constitutional revision, and the Komei Party and its supportive groups were discontented with the LDP because of the school scandals.

Second, Abe's cabinet isn't stable.

The frequent irresponsible remarks made by cabinet members and their poor performance at the congressional hearing were one of the reasons for the slumping support rate and for Abe's headache.

Therefore, when he reorganized the cabinet in August, Abe selected several highly experienced politicians, who, however, are not as helpful as Abe hoped.

The deputy prime minister and financial secretary Taro Aso said LDP's victory should be attributed to North Korea, which was criticized as "hyping up and utilizing the crisis".

Third, the school scandals that once threatened Abe's position are far from over.

LDP planned to cut the time of inquiry for opposition parties at the congress to avoid their questions on the scandal, but was stopped by them.

(By Wang Kejia, Xinhua News Agency)


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