End of “beautiful Japan”

Abe ShinzoAt 14:00 this afternoon Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced his intention to resign. This comes as a shock since he was so dogged about staying on after a “drubbing”:http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=9587749 in the upper house elections last month, not to mention the countless scandals, firings and suicides. Furthermore, Mr Abe recently stated that he would stake his job on the extension of Japan’s Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law which was enacted to allow the Maritime Self Defense Forces to participate in the War on Terror by refueling coalition ships in the Indian Ocean. The Special Measures Law wasn’t on the scale of “Miyazawa’s PKO bill”:http://cominganarchy.com/2007/06/29/a-giant-passes/ but was still an important milestone in the “normalization” of Japan’s foreign policy. The Abe administration was looking for an extension of the law — which expires 1 November — in the form of a “new law if necessary”:http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200709110525.html, but the opposition was having none of it. Many regarded Mr Abe’s threat of resignation if the law wasn’t extended as not particularly threatening, and possibly a welcome benefit. The downfall of the Abe administration seemed imminent, tied to the expiration of the Special Measures Law. And then came today’s announcement. Mr Abe did not state why or when he would step down, but that he will might take some of the anti-Abe steam out of the Special Measures Law extension. If there was any use for him announcing his resignation, this might well be it.

*UPDATE:* For those that doubt the altriusm of Mr Abe for stepping down to preserve the chances of a “good” law passing, “TPR has a thought”:http://www.transpacificradio.com/2007/09/12/japanese-prime-minister-abe-resigns/:

bq. The DPJ was pushing for a general election, which we all knew the LDP would have a hard time winning. The question now is to what extent Abe stole the DPJ’s thunder by stepping down, acting as a lightning rod and taking the DPJ best ammo down with him. Is a general election now more or less likely?

About Younghusband

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) was a British explorer, army officer, military-political officer, and foreign correspondent born in India who led expeditions into Manchuria, Kashgar, and Tibet. He three times tried and failed to scale Mt. Everest and journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass (alt. c.19,000 ft/5,791 m) of the Karakoram mountain range in modern day Pakistan. Convinced of Russian designs on British interests in India, Younghusband proactively engaged in the nineteenth century spying and conflict over Central Asia between the British and the Russians known as the Great Game. "Younghusband" is a Canadian who has spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between his home country and Japan. Fluent in Japanese and English with experience in numerous other languages from Spanish to Georgian, Younghusband has travelled throughout Asia. He graduated with an MA from the War Studies Department at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he focussed on the Japanese oil industry and energy security issues. He has recently returned to Canada from Japan, and is working in the technology sector.
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4 Responses to End of “beautiful Japan”

  1. Curzon says:

    “Worth noting:”:http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20070912p2a00m0na017000c.html

    The Defense Ministry’s Self Defense Forces (SDF) had planned seminars across Japan starting on Friday calling for support for Japan’s refueling missions, and the news on Abe’s intention to resign also left SDF officials surprised. “There was no one like Abe who visited SDF sites and paid as much attention to morale,” one official said. Another official from the ministry said, “I was surprised when I heard that (former Defense Minister Yuriko) Koike wouldn’t be staying, but I never thought this would happen with Abe.”

  2. CTDeLude says:

    This is just one of the mornings (for a guy on the West Coast) where I’m tempted to look skyward for the heavens to open up or something. Between this, Putin dissolving the Russian government, a rather large earthquake in Indonesia and finally the increase in the buildup for an aerial bombardment on Iran it’s just a crazy mess. This world certainly isn’t the feel good paradise progressives would like to think it could be.

  3. Pingback: Just an Abe-rration? « Moore Than This

  4. Younghusband says:

    “LDP vote set for Sept 23″:http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/418170 Aso, Fukuda and Nukaga. Hopefully “MF”:http://www.mutantfrog.com/ gives us the dirt on these three soon. (Roy has already “talked about Aso”:http://www.mutantfrog.com/2007/09/12/abe-down-otaku-up/)