Being the preeminent experts that we at the Mutant Frog Travelogue are, some Japanese university student has decided to use us as a primary resource for a major research project (or more likely, the subject of one of the countless “survey the foreigner” projects they give in university English classes). Here’s what the questioner wanted to know:
Dear Mr. Mutant frog.
Hello! I’m a [Japanese] University student. I get your e-
mail address at MUTANT FROG TORAVELOGUE. [This university]
is Japanese university. Our English class was to sending e-mail which
has some questions about things which have interest.
・ What do you think Prime Minister Shinzo Abe?
・ How will Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe be different
from the ex-Prime Minister Koizumi?
・ Do you think Japan become better? And I want to listen to your
From [a] university in Japan.
Q: What do you think Prime Minister Shinzo Abe?
A: While he’s qualified for the job and worked hard to win public and LDP support for his election, in terms of leadership I think he is a pale comparison to his predecessor. So far, he’s proven vague on policy and prone to open himself up for excoriation from the oppoisiton. He’s already started talking about a second term, but the way things are going I’m starting to wonder if he’ll even make it to the Upper House election next July.
Q: How will Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe be different from the ex-Prime Minister Koizumi?
A: Koizumi, the “weirdo” of Japanese politics, is almost beyond comparison with the rest of the Diet. He was squeaky-clean in an era of rampant “money politics” and was always known as a maverick. After he became prime minister, he wowed the whole world with his sweeping plans to turn Japan around. And domestically he was adept (with the help of his advisers at Dentsu) at convincing the public of the need for reform. Abe, on the other hand, is divisive and vague. He talks with a lisp and crosses his legs like a girl. His smile is dead and empty. His focus on largely unnecessary security reforms comes at the expense of momentum for reform on the economic side of things. For example, his appointments to the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy reek of a relatively weak minister of state (Hiroko Ota) and an Abe family political ally (Jiro Ushio) reek of putting political pressure on what is supposed to be an independent advisory group.
Q: Do you think Japan become better? And I want to listen to your opinion.
A: No, I think Japan will continue its slow decline. The political will is just not there to put Japan on the path to economic stability under its demographic crisis. Take a look at this report from the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Japanese only, sorry!) to get a picture of just how dire the situation is.
Thanks for listening to my opinion!