Japan is facing hard times. Domestic politics is stuck in a stalemate and is as ever replacing Prime Minister every 12-18 months. Economic growth remains sluggish, the country is burdened with public debt amounting to 200% of the country’s GDP while at the same being confronted with a possibly nuclear-armed North Korea and a militarily growing assertive China. ISPI Studies has invited five authors European, Japanese and American authors to make sense of the current state and trends of Japanese politics, economics and foreign policies. Franz Waldenberger and Jens Eilker point out that although the pace of Japan’s economic recovery is impressive after the March 2011 earthquake, they point to several significant weaknesses as regards crisis management, governance and risk communication. The economic cost of the triple of March 11, 2011 disaster, they estimate, amounts to less than 5% of Japanese GDP. In the meantime, supply chains affected by the earthquake are largely up and running again and the efficiency of the reconstruction efforts has been second to none. Haruko Satoh argues that after March 11, 2011, the Japanese people have lost trust in politics and the state. The government, she argues, handled the nuclear crisis incredibly badly and provided the people with late and bogus information what confirmed that Japan’s policymakers were clueless and not ready to handle the consequences of such a crisis. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Satoh argues, is confronted with the task of restoring that public trust in politics and politicians. Japan, Yoichi Hosoya suggests in his paper, will continue to muddle through as regards domestic politics. Since taking power in September 2009, the ruling party has been unable to govern the country efficiently. The March 2011 earthquake, Hosoya argues, further intensified the stalemate and lack of dynamism in Japanese domestic politics. Inner-DPJ divisions and disagreements, a lack of a majority in the second chamber of the Japanese parliament and weak political leadership made sure that the country’s electorate remain unconvinced that the DPJ is able to change the work politics ‘work’ in Japan. Paul Midford and Brad Glosserman both analyze the state and trends of Japanese foreign and security policies.
Scarica: Politics, Economics and Foreign Policies Post-Earthquake Japan-Doing OK but Must do Better, December 2011