23 November 2015
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly claimed that Abenomics, represented by ‘Three Arrows’ of reform, is his highest policy priority. However, his government’s controversial passing of the Security Bills suggests that a higher priority is the unpopular goal of re-establishing jishu kenpō (自主憲法), an ‘independent constitution’ in place of the US drafted ‘imposed’ Constitution. This ideologically driven project, not economic reform, has been the real focus of the Abe administration.
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 Abe’s. Instead, Ito claims, Abe’s programme contains a hidden ‘Fourth Arrow’ of political reform: the amendment of the existing Constitution and the ‘reform of post-war politics’.
… Naoko Kumada is a Research Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 03/12/2015