Former Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe was killed in Nara City Friday morning while giving a speech to the crowd prior to the upper house elections this weekend which will take place on the 10th of July. A total of 125 seats are available to be purchased.
Here are a few most important problems.
A slowdown in global economic growth has a negative impact on Japan's already slow recovery. The government of the Prime Vice-Minister Fumio Kishida is likely to achieve gains that will allow his government to progress on crucial issues like increasing Japan's defenses in order to play more of a role in Asia and tackling the issue of inflation and restarting nuclear reactors which were shut down following the nuclear accident at Fukushima.
Kishida is the son of the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
This election will be a time when Japan's leaders hope to win the right to let the country increase the annual amount of military spending up to 2 percent of GDP. This will bring Japan in line with the desired defense budget standards that are set by NATO countries. Japan's defense budget was estimated at $48 billion USD in 2022. This is just half of China's $229 billion defense budget. Two per cent of GDP defense spending in Japan's huge economy of $5 trillion USD could effectively double the defense budget up to about $100 billion USD per year and significantly close the gap to China.
In a February 2022 TV interview, Abe “floated the possibility of hosting U.S. nuclear weapons in Japan” and declared in the same interview that Abe suggested that the United States needed to “abandon this ambiguity strategy” concerning Taiwan.
“The Taiwanese people are a part of our values universally shared by all and I believe that Taiwan and the U.S. should firmly abandon its confusion,” he said.
Abe stated that “a Taiwan contingency is a Japan contingency,”
There is also talk in the Japanese press that they are considering rethinking Article 9 in the Constitution adopted by the US following World War II renouncing war due to the growing tensions within Asia. This is a huge deal for the Japanese as well as other nations in Asia which are also part of China who are not able to forget the impact of that period of 500 years of Imperial Japan that led to the enactment of Article 9 on the island nation.
The most heated topic in the elections is the issue of inflation. The Japanese have experienced an extended period of steady inflation over the years. This has made Japanese voters extremely attuned to the way that prices in the world make it difficult for them to pay for essentials. The issue is further aggravated by the COVID-19 epidemic that continues to cause cases throughout the country and hamper the opening of the economy.
Kishida's government is hoping to be able to implement subsidies for the oil industry and others in order to reduce the price of goods and services for consumers. This policy is controversial as it will require the government to enter debt financing schemes using bonds. One of the most important economic decisions that will be taken after the election is the appointment of a new Governor of the Bank of Japan, which will determine the fiscal policy guidelines for Japan as it attempts to curb inflation.
In Main Street Japan, among angry Japanese residents, angry farmers are beginning to emerge as a prominent segment of the population. Japanese farmers depended on imports, such as grain to feed their animals. Feed corn's cost has increased and farmers are switching to rice for their cattle. Because the supply chain in the world and issues with inflation have made farming economically more challenging, their enthusiasm has been a subject of increased media coverage in Japan.
The biggest problem in the political debate is the issue about nuclear energy. Japan has a high dependence on the liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) to produce energy which is a commodity that is rapidly getting more expensive on the world market. Only 10 of Japan's 54 nuclear power stations are operating following the Fukushima incident. The necessity to provide affordable electricity and the resistance to engaging the nuclear genie will be very important in the coming elections' debate.