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1 - The Political Economy of the Abe Government

from Part I - Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2021

Takeo Hoshi
Affiliation:
University of Tokyo
Phillip Y. Lipscy
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

The government of Shinzo Abe represents an important turning point in Japanese politics and political economy. Abe became the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history, and his government enacted important reforms under the banner of “Abenomics.” In this introductory chapter, we provide a broad review of the Abe government and its policies and point out several apparent puzzles to motivate the volume. We argue that the Abe government is the clearest manifestation of a new Japanese political system that represents a full transition away from the 1955 system. The new system is characterized by a strong prime minister with centralized authority, careful management of the prime minister’s popularity, and a focus on policies with broad, popular appeal. Abe utilized and strengthened Japan’s new political institutions to implement significant policy changes across a wide range of issue areas, including monetary and fiscal policy, the labor market, corporate governance, agricultural reforms, and national security.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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