Explainer: How does Japan’s Abe score on his policy agenda?

first_imgJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the nation’s longest serving premier, visited a Tokyo hospital on Monday as concerns deepened about his ability to continue in his post due to health issues and fatigue from handling the coronavirus crisis.Here are key elements of Abe’s record since returning to office in December 2012. He ended a first troubled 2006-2007 term as premier by quitting abruptly, citing ill health.COVID-19 response, scandals “Abenomics”Abe’s signature “Abenomics” policies of bold monetary easing and fiscal spending encountered headwinds last year as a US-China trade war hit exports and a sales tax rise hurt business and consumer sentiment.Now the pandemic has hit Japan with its biggest economic slump on record. A third straight quarter of declines knocked real gross domestic product (GDP) to decade-low levels, wiping out the benefits of “Abenomics”.Critics have also said Abe relied too heavily on his monetary and fiscal policy without following through on a pledge of a “third arrow” of structural reform to achieve long-term growth despite a fast-ageing and shrinking population.SecurityAbe bolstered defense spending after years of declines and expanded the military’s ability to project power abroad.In a historic shift in 2014, his government reinterpreted the post-war, pacifist constitution to allow troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War Two.The following year, legislation ended a ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense, or defending a friendly country under attack.Faced with divided public opinion, however, Abe has not achieved his long-held goal of revising the US-drafted constitution by writing the Self-Defense Forces, as Japan’s military in known, into the pacifist Article 9.Personnel appointmentsBy creating a Personnel Affairs Bureau at the cabinet, Abe and his right-hand aide, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, gained greater control over appointments of bureaucrats, who for decades have dominated policymaking, shifting the balance of policy power toward politicians.DiplomacyAbe has cultivated warm personal ties with US President Donald Trump, averting worst-case outcomes on trade. He has overseen a cautious improvement in ties with China, although a territorial row and Beijing’s clampdown on Hong Kong are causing strains. Relations with South Korea turned frigid due to disputes over the wartime past.Abe has made little progress toward resolving a long-running feud with Russia over disputed islands seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War Two. The row has kept the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty ending the war.Nor has Abe been able to settle a feud with North Korea over Japanese citizens kidnapped by Pyongyang’s agents in the 1970s and 1980s, an issue he put at the center of his political career Topics :center_img Japan has not suffered an explosive virus outbreak, but a recent rise in infections has fuelled concern that Abe is putting too much emphasis on the economy over health.Abe has drawn fire for an initial response to the outbreak that critics called clumsy and, more recently, for a seeming lack of leadership, including few media appearances.Dissatisfaction with his response, as well as scandals such as the arrest of a former justice minister and his lawmaker wife on suspicion of vote-buying, have eroded Abe’s ratings.A Kyodo news agency weekend survey showed Abe’s voter support at 36.0%, down from 38.8% the previous month and the second lowest since he returned to office in 2012.last_img read more

Condon: Trip to suit Aspect

first_img Press Association Condon said: “I’m very happy with her. She won a Listed race over an inadequate trip at Tipperary and she will be more comfortable over seven furlongs. “I think she has improved since, but she will need to if she is to be involved. She is in good form and I’m expecting her to run well. “I booked Johnny on Wednesday when I knew Shane Foley wouldn’t be available.” Foley will partner Glassatura for his boss Mick Halford, a filly who made a winning debut at the Curragh before finishing fourth in a Listed heat at Naas. Halford said: “She is in good form, she’s had a nice break since her last run. She has been working well and I’m hoping for a good run.” As is so often the case, the contest is dominated by Aidan O’Brien. The master of Ballydoyle has saddled eight previous Debutante winners and is this year represented by Tapestry (Joseph O’Brien), Minorette (Michael Hussey) and Perhaps (Seamie Heffernan). The field is completed by Paul Deegan’s Avenue Gabriel. The daughter of Haatef came right back to five furlongs to claim the Listed Tipperary Stakes a month ago, her second career win from four juvenile appearances. She will be partnered by Johnny Murtagh as she faces six opponents at Group Two level this weekend. center_img Ken Condon believes a step up to seven furlongs will bring out the best in Sacred Aspect in the Friarstown Stud Debutante Stakes at the Curragh.last_img read more

Arizona State a constant bother

first_imgAubrey Kragen is a senior majoring in communication. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Release the Kragen,” runs Fridays. To comment on this story, visit dailytrojan.com or email Aubrey at kragen@usc.edu. I hate Arizona State.I mean, I really, really, really hate Arizona State.My animosity toward that university goes back to my freshman year at USC.Pullin’ me back · Senior linebacker Hayes Pullard has felt the sting of losing to Arizona State twice in his five-year career as a Trojan. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanLet’s take a little trip down memory lane. Freshman year, I was still with my high school boyfriend (dumb, I know), who went to Arizona State. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to head out for the USC game in Tempe in 2011.We sat in the sweltering Arizona sun for hours to get early bird tickets to be able to sit in the first couple of rows (Why isn’t it just first-come, first-served at the stadium before the game starts? I don’t know, maybe because it’s Arizona State and they can’t do anything right.)Except that night they did do something right. They did something right that they hadn’t done since 1999. They beat USC. The Trojans entered that game sporting a 3-0 record and a No. 23 ranking, so I was feeling pretty confident.Confident enough, in fact, that I decided it would be a good idea to wear my cardinal USC T-shirt smack dab in the middle of Arizona State’s drunk, sweaty sea of gold.Big mistake.People screamed at me. People threw things at me. Even Sparky the Sun Devil, ASU’s creepy mascot with a weak mustache, towered over me and tried to intimidate me. It worked. I almost cried.I also almost cried after USC took its only lead of the game late in the third and went on to cede 22 straight points to lose the game, 43-22. I’m pretty sure there’s something in the air there that just magically lowers everyone’s IQ, and that definitely seemed to be the case with the Trojans in the second half of that game.One of the only things that kept me from crying was laughing at the whole student section pouring out of the stadium after the game and cheering, “Let’s get wasted!” Jackasses.For some reason, I decided to go back the next weekend. Call me a glutton for punishment, but it was ASU’s family weekend, so I headed out with his family to watch the Sun Devils take on Oregon State. I had gotten over the last week’s heartbreak and was fully prepared to root for the Sun Devils, wearing a yellow ASU t-shirt and all.That feeling pretty much went out the window when some student I walked past before the game recognized me from the previous weekend.“Hey, weren’t you here last weekend?” he screamed. “Take that [expletive] shirt off, that’s disrespectful!”At that point, I damned ASU football forever.There’s a special place in my heart for that program. It’s the cold, dark place that also hates “How I Met Your Mother,” Jack Johnson and bacon. Yes, I hate bacon.I still cringe whenever I meet people who go to Arizona State. And that includes my editor-in-chief’s little brother (Sorry, Euno’s little brother).So as you can imagine, last year was especially painful for me, as it was for all of you too, I’m sure. Thankfully, I didn’t head out to Tempe again. My ex-boyfriend dropped out anyway (snicker). I actually didn’t even watch the game live.Instead, I went to a concert in San Diego with my mom, recorded the game and tried to stay off all social media to not have the result spoiled — like that ever works.I went to bed not knowing the outcome, and I sort of wish I had never woken up. Because when I did, there was that Bleacher Report notification that Kiffin was no more, along with a gloating text from my mom’s best friend, who went to UCLA.Watching a recording of the game and fast-forwarding through a lot of the breaks and early ASU drives made it difficult for me to gauge exactly what went wrong for USC. All I could tell was that it was embarrassing and that I’m glad that I wasn’t sports editor at that time (shoutout to Nick Selbe and Will Laws).Thankfully, the Trojans bounced back after their 2011 loss with a 38-17 win over the Sun Devils in 2012, and I predict they will put on a similar performance on Saturday.For the first time this season, the water seems to be calm surrounding this football team.The Trojans are coming off a resounding win over Oregon State, and everything seems to be in order.Redshirt junior wide receiver Victor Blackwell has been skipping all team activities and likely causing some friction with his teammates, but this drama is minor compared to what the Trojans have been dealing with all season.The Trojans are healthy, redshirt junior quarterback Cody Kessler is firing on all cylinders, and USC’s rush game bounced back from an atrocious performance at Boston College with a combined 200-yard effort on the ground against Oregon State.Couple that with the fact that Arizona State is starting a quarterback with only one other career start (last week’s 62-27 loss at home to UCLA), and I’m feeling pretty good about USC’s chances this Saturday.Maybe my resentment toward the Sun Devils is clouding my vision, but I don’t care.ASU’s hellish location, weather and demon-like mascot are pretty emblematic. That place is evil.Fight on and please, please, please Beat the Sun Devils!last_img read more