Friday, February 7, 2014

Japan: The Problem with Abe

Abe wears the costume of a reformer but at heart he is a reactionary conservative.

1.      His “third arrow” is lodged in its quiver.  The odds of significant economic reform are at best 50/50 and probably much lower

2.      He is an ardent and long-time nationalist.  He feels more deeply about this than he does about economic reforms.  So he will continue to offend those who believe Japan has never sufficiently come to terms with their war time atrocities and he will continue to look to increase Japan’s military prowess.  This will of course make relations with China worse than they otherwise would have been.

3.      See the link below.  The LDP’s candidate for governor of Tokyo is one of the elderly establishment men who have run Japan into the ditch and are completely out of touch with modern Japan on cultural and social issues.  This is not “just” a social issue.  Japan needs women to significantly increase their presence in the workforce to offset a declining labor force

Women warn of 'sex strike' if men pick top Tokyo governor candidate Masuzoe | The Japan Times

I believe there are opportunities in selected Japanese companies who “get it” and are improving capital allocation and corporate focus – but in the longer term, the future looks bleak for Japan.


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