TOKYO – When the elections in Japan were closed on Sunday after a lackluster turnout in the national elections, voters of the ruling party of Shinzo Abe and their allies seemed to have won, according to public service broadcaster NHK History Prime Minister of the country.
It was still unclear whether Mr. Abe and his allies had also occupied two-thirds of the seats in the House of Lords, a superiority needed to fulfill his long-cherished ambition to revise a pacifist constitution that has been since then Founding by the American occupiers in 1947 was in force.
Nonetheless, the projected result was an impressive moment for Mr. Abe, who was forced to fall into disfavor just a dozen years ago as prime minister after his party's humiliating defeat in a parliamentary election. Now, Mr. Abe, who returned to power in 201
During the election campaign, Mr. Abe did not stress his desire to revise the constitution on Saturday night. At the last election rally in Tokyo, supporters waved Japanese flags as Abe pledged to secure the country's finances and his personal relationship to President Trump denounced.
"We will vigorously protect Japan," he said.
Mr. Abe seemed prepared to win the election, although he struggled to achieve his other declared goals, including [1944-7] charging the economy, increasing the country's sluggish birth rate, or dramatically increasing leadership and politics. In many ways, Abe's success is more due to the lack of strong opposition than to the public mandate for his party's vision.
"The opposition is not good," said Makoto Mugikura, 68, a voter who had gone to the party rally not as a passionate supporter but because he happens to be drinking in the neighborhood. "There is nothing but the Liberal Democrats."
With five major opposition parties, many voters find it difficult to uphold them. At each election, new parties emerge as old parties split and reconstitute.
"The problem of opposition lies in marketing and identity," said Jeffrey W. Hornung, a political scientist at RAND Corporation focusing on Japan. "It is difficult to have a unified voice in different elections, and Abe and the LDP we have used."
Some of the opposition parties hoped to make their mark through more female candidates.
Following a law passed last year encouraging Japanese political parties to seek gender equality in their parties Candidates: 28 percent of Sunday's candidates are women, with the Constitutional Democratic Party having nearly half of the women in the field.
While Abe often says "Imagine a society where" women can shine, "less than one in six candidates for the Liberal Democratic Party are women, and there is only one woman in his cabinet.
Mr. Abe's agenda for women is" Window dressing, "said Noriko Sakoh, the author of" Too much housework will destroy Japan. "She pointed to government guidelines like S Expensive benefits for husbands whose wives do not work and on waiting lists insist on state-subsidized day care despite low birth rates.
wife. Sakoh said she was attracted to a new progressive party called Reiwa Shinsengumi, which supports a number of candidates from a variety of backgrounds, including a single mother and two people with physical disabilities. On Sunday night, Kyodo News announced that Yasuhiko Funago, a candidate with wheelchair and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, won a seat.
In a country where one-fifth of the population is now 70 or older, all major are The parties focused on the national pension system during the election campaign.
Nearly two months before the election, the Financial Services Agency, a government regulator, warned that the country's social security system could not support the living standards of older people through retirement. Given the long life expectancy in Japan, the agency's report indicated that an average couple would need another 20 million yen or about 185,000 dollars to live comfortably.
Abe administration officials quickly rejected the report and campaigned Mr. Abe promised to increase the annual pension for low-income retirees by about $ 560.
Some demonstrators who appeared to Mr. Abe's last rally on Saturday said hollowly, "Abe quit!" And "Don & # 39; t." bully poor people! "
Mr. Abe said the government will finance payments by encouraging more women and older people to work, and its party promised to raise its country's excise tax rate to 10 percent in the fall, as planned.
All five major opposition parties have said they will not levy the tax, although Yukio Edano, leader of the constitutional democrat, says the government has a responsibility to secure the retirement of its citizens.
"Is not it the government's job to figure out how we can build a system that works even if people do not save 20 million yen? "In his last election on Saturday, Abe dismissed the opposition's criticism."
Other social security benefits only cause discomfort among the opposition's opposition parties without providing alternative plans, "he said We can not increase social security. "
A supporter of the rally said he had no plans to depend on the government to retire.
" I'll take care of myself, "he said Ichiro Hasumi, 65, a retired shipowner, said he voted for Mr. Abe's party because "he will best protect national interests."
"It's Japan first," he added.
Mr Abe has been working hard to establish himself as a leader on the world stage. He persistently recruits Mr. Trump and works to improve relations with President Xi Jinping of China during the Japa Trump's visit in May seemed to pay off when the American president stated on Twitter that he would hold back thorny trade negotiations until after the Japanese elections this month.
The opposition may find it difficult to counteract such symbols of Mr. Abe's power. It is also difficult to penetrate to a public that values stability or offers convincing new ideas to solve the country's most difficult long-term problems, which are dictated by the demographics of a shrinking population and an aging society.
"The challenges facing Japan are very complicated, so there are generally not many simple answers," said Kristi Govella, assistant professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. "Opposition parties tend to be pushed into an anti-abe or anti-status quo position, and this can be a difficult place to lay the groundwork for new, exciting political ideas."