Japan under its old and new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is at a crossroads. The choice is between the adoption of badly needed structural reforms and the continuation of familiar economic stimulus packages that have proven unsuccessful in the past. The new Asia Policy Brief provides an analysis.
In the new issue of the Asia Policy Brief, Axel Berkofsky, Professor at the University of Pavia, Italy, and Senior Associate Research Fellow at the Milan-based Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI), analyzes the results of the Lower House electionson December 14, 2014 and examines the state of Japan's reform agenda. He argues that Abe's strategy to call snap elections and take advantage of an incredibly weak political opposition paid off, even if the election victory is less stunning than the raw numbers indicate.
However, unless Abe changes gear and adopts more of the long-announced economic, structural and fiscal reforms, the opportunity for a fresh start could be wasted, writes Berkofsky. Instead, there may be (many) more very half-hearted reform policies in the months ahead. Abe remains confident that he can lead Japan back onto the path of sustainable economic growth. Nevertheless, his efforts to resume and expand constitutional re-interpretation together with the adoption of very familiar LDP-style economic stimulus packages, provide initial evidence that we will have to live with "more of the same" as opposed to "something new" as far as Tokyo's economic reform policies are concerned. You can find the complete analysis in the publication linked below.
In the Asia Policy Briefs renowned experts and authors from the Bertelsmann Stiftung analyze important developments in Asia and their consequences for Germany and Europe. The short briefing papers focus on current events as well as underlying trends in important Asian countries. All Asia Policy Brief editions can be downloaded here.