Could ‘Abexit’ Spell the End of Abenomics in Japan?

Right after his decisive reelection last year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on the cusp of becoming the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history. This feat was expected to redeem his short-lived tenure as prime minister a decade ago and provide a counter to the wave of resignations that plagued Japan’s executive office from 2006-2011.

Now, Abe’s approval ratings have dropped precipitously and he faces challenges within his own party as the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) election in September looms.

What happened?

News reports of alleged scandals involving improper financial transactions and sexual harassment at the Finance Ministry have intensified. On the international front, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has opened up public diplomatic engagement and has rhetorically committed to move toward denuclearization – a move that had very little involvement with Japanese policymakers. Abe has also failed to deliver any diplomatic wins with the US after his recent meeting with US President Donald Trump. All this has taken a big toll on the Japanese public’s perception of Abe.

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