04 December 2015
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came into power for a second time in 2012 with an economic programme purportedly based on three “arrows” of reform: Monetary expansion, fiscal stimulus and structural reform. The first two arrows of monetary and fiscal stimulus were supposed to pave the way for a crucial third: The long-term structural reform that has eluded Japan over two decades of economic stagnation. However, three years into Abenomics, the Third Arrow is nowhere to be seen.
The renowned economist Mitsuharu Ito argues in his book, Critique of Abenomics: Breaking the Four Arrows, that Abenomics is not only misguided as economic policy but also not a genuine priority of Mr Abe’s. Instead, Mr Ito claims, Mr Abe’s programme contains a hidden “Fourth Arrow” of political reform: The amendment of the existing Constitution and the “reform of post-war politics.
Mr Ito contends that the defining stance of the Abe administration, which he describes as an exceptionally extreme right-wing administration in post-war Japan, is its denial that Japan’s actions in China leading up to the Pacific War constitute an invasion. Indeed, Mr Abe refused to use “invasion” or even “act of aggression” to refer to Japan’s historical actions in China in recent statements about the War. Mr Abe’s right-wing views are more evident in his books, personal statements and actions such as his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine than in official policy statements.
… Naoko Kumada is a research fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University. This piece first appeared in RSIS Commentaries.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 04/12/2015