08.06.2017 Author: Vladimir Terehov

Japan: Attacks on Shinzō Abe Intensify

961342Internal political struggle is an inalienable element of the functioning of any state, regardless of the kind of meme that determines its structure: “democracy”, “authoritarianism” or “totalitarianism”. In each of them, the “price of the issue” at the highest level of such a struggle looks the same way and is defined by the word “power.” Actual holders are eager to retain it, and their opponents, on the contrary, strive to wrest it away.

Various methods are used and among them one of the most popular and effective is the discrediting of opposition leaders. Moreover, in our time of “hybrid wars” such a struggle is rarely of a domestic nature and suspicions about the presence of external forces can be very justified.

In particular, recently such suspicions have arisen in connection with the unfolding process of discrediting the current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. It began in March 2017 after the leading Japanese newspapers published information about evidence of signs of corruption in the procedure of a private company’s purchase of a small (about 1 hectare) plot of state land at a price 6-7 times below market value.

In connection with this transaction, firstly the name of Shinzō Abe’s spouse surfaced, and then the possibility of his own participation was discussed. With the most active involvement of all opposition parties, the discussion reached the parliamentary level, during which the possible early resignation of the current Prime Minister was mentioned.

In the second half of May, Shinzō Abe’s name was also mentioned on other not quite pleasant occasions. Firstly, the press published information on the existence of certain documents in the Ministry of Education that testify to the Prime Minister’s support for the candidacy of “one of his friends” to lead the project to establish a veterinary department at the Okayama prefectural university complex. The presence of a corruption component during the implementation of the project was not excluded.

It should be noted that such projects are an important element in the formation of Special Economic Zones in various regions of Japan, as Shinzō Abe had said as early as 2013, immediately after assuming the post of Prime Minister. At the end of 2015, relevant specific activities were formalized by the parliament in the form of a legislative act.

The reason for the next media scandal was (just like two months earlier) the initial denial by “the government sources” of the fact of any direct involvement of the Prime Minister in the implementation of the said project.

Yet at the end of May, the existence of “compromising” documents was confirmed by one of the former “higher officials” of the Ministry of Education.

Then, a young lady appeared, who suddenly and publicly recalled that two years ago she was sexually assaulted “after dinner with alcohol in the hotel restaurant”. The former chief executive of the Washington office of the Japanese company TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System Television), who turned out to be another “close friend” of Shinzō Abe, was accused of this inappropriate act.

But this is, as they say, the “classics of the genre,” which puts a “brand” name on the entire anti-premier campaign. In recent years, “immorality” has invariably been present in the noisy scandals around state and international figures (a recent example was demonstrated by Japan’s neighbor – South Korea).

Finally, the “last straw” of the embarrassing Shinzō Abe campaign was the May 18 publication of a letter to the Prime Minister from the “special rapporteur” of the UN Human Rights Council about violations of “the rights and freedom of expression of citizens’ will.” The reason for such violations, according to the author of the letter, can be the law “On Punishment for Organized Crime and Control of Criminal Activity.” This law (that successfully passed the Lower House and is now under consideration by the Upper House of the Japanese parliament) became the subject of protests by a part of the Japanese public, and the above-mentioned letter from the “special rapporteur” is an occasion for another squealing of parliamentarians from the ruling and opposition parties.

It is difficult to refrain from commenting on the activities of various “human rights” movements and other similar groups. These acquire an increasingly destructive (in all senses) character and, apparently, serve as a lucrative sinecure for modern hypocrites. One can only speculate on the causes of the increased attention of “certain forces”, in recent months, to the personality of the current Prime Minister of Japan. But the first thing that catches your eye is the coincidence of the campaign to discredit Shinzō Abe with two (emerging) trends which are both interrelated and critical for the situation in the APR.

It is regarding the simultaneous appearance of problems in US-Japanese and flashes in Sino-Japanese relations. The last encouraging evidence of the second trend was the results of the visit to Japan by Yang Jiechi – one of the most significant figures in the modern political and state hierarchy of the PRC.

However, someone clearly dislikes both new trends in the region. Potential successors of Shinzō Abe to the posts of the President of the LDP and the Prime Minister on the Japanese political scale are much more to the right and, apparently, able to solve the “suddenly arising” problems. This is to the satisfaction of the “dissatisfied”.

In conclusion, we just cannot avoid a very usual issue, a clear answer to which, however, hardly exists. This issue in question is related to the nature of society’s response to the “weakness” of the power elite. The answer to it is conditioned by the most diverse specifics, including the scale of “weaknesses”, the level of their recurrence, and so on.

But, perhaps, the main thing that the “outraged public” should take into account relates to the (inevitable) presence in the internal problems of the country of external “well-wishers”. Such is the nature of “real politics”.

If the next wrestlers (with the next) holders of (infamous) “golden loaves” ignore its postulates, this could lead to a national catastrophe. Apparently, given the need to see all the complexities of real life, a certain maxim about “good intentions leading to hell” holds true.

Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.“


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