Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has just announced a snap election which will be held next month, yes they do that in Japan. This election is significant because it might affect Japanese commitment to pacifism, proving itself as one of the most unstable allies.
“Surprise! We are having an election next month”, yeah that’s how Japanese Prime Ministers can talk. Now this may seem shocking to us and those who are used to campaign seasons that last for years, rather than weeks. Formally, Japan wasn’t supposed to have a parliamentary election until 2018 but surprise elections are something that happens with some frequency in both Japan and other parliamentary democracies like Great Britain. In these democracies, the Prime Ministers have authority to declare election if they feel it is necessary for the country’s interest (or their own).
Mr Abe believes that by boosting his voter support through snap elections, it will help in maintaining his conservative Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) to maintain a simple majority which is currently two-thirds “super” majority. But experts believe that Abe’s snap election decision is ‘less about country’s best and more about his best’ – I am not saying that, experts are. There is certainly an explanation to this too, for past few months, Abe has been stuck into corruption scandals, which had significantly slashed down his poll strength but when it was balanced by public support for his aggressive response to the North Korea crisis, the numbers rose back. But somehow, Abe seems to be feeling that these number might eventually go down with time and so he doesn’t want to wait for regular scheduled election.
Time for surprise over surprise, as fresh opinion polls showed a fledgling conservative party led by popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was gaining momentum. The consequences of this election results can be huge. If Abe gets re-elected, it means he will gain the power to remilitarize Japan by pushing constitutional revisions in Japan. Full militarization of Japan would resonate far beyond the Japanese border. Because China, in particular, who has been deeply concerned by Japan’s moves will take full militarization of Japan as a threat to its security. And it is uncertain of Trump would stand up backing Japan in that case – jeopardising US-Japan diplomacy and hence ripple through the Korean peninsula. See how far a simple political interest can ripple!