With the luxury of time and experience, I enjoy studying and observing the political dynamics at play in Japan. My conclusion: The more things change, the more they remain the same.
The most recent example: Japan’s “New Capitalism.”
Japan’s new prime minister Kishida Fumio’s promised a “New Capitalism,” his big idea to reinvigorate the country’s economy. Months after his election its meaning is still unclear.
The biggest changes under Mr. Kishida have been rhetorical. His “New Capitalism” appears to be a collection old ideas and empty buzzwords rather than a dynamic approach and structural reforms to deal with the country’s chronic economic ills and growing inequality.
Independent analysts point to the ghosts of the failed policies of former LDP prime ministers, from the “garden city” concept advocated by Ohira Masayoshi in the 1970s to Abe Shinzo’s so-called “Abenomics” from 2012 to 2020.
With Mr. Kishida’s voter approval ratings near 60%, it would appear that barring a major pandemic-related setback, there is little expectation of any significant change.
Bold words may make good politics, but are unlikely to help the economy.