Trending: "Japan tilting/turning/sliding to the right in an alarming way"
Japan is probably not shifting, tilting, sliding, skipping, turning cartwheels or anything else to the right. If that were so, we would see hatred of "foreigners" irrespective of origins. Try as one might, one will find little evidence of generalized increased hatred toward non-Japanese. Antipathy and empathy fatigue are focused on two national groups, Chinese and South Koreans, and is it not even an ethnic disdain: Chinese and South Korean tourists are portrayed as a huge and vital business opportunity. (Link - J)
As for remilitarization, Japan presently spends around 1% of GDP on defense. After the Abe military build up, Japan will be spending...approximately 1% of GDP on defense. Do not even get me started on where in an Aging Japan the government is going to find enough youngsters to meet its force recruitment goals.
As for Abe's Yasukuni visit on December 26, he put off his annual visit until the morning of the one year anniversary of his election as prime minister. He was and is going to make visits on an annual basis. Let us take some solace in his having waited until the very last moment.
So what about the secrecy law, the appointment of mediocrity Momii Katsuto as the head of NHK, wannabe fixer Watanabe Tsuneo as the head of the commission on the secrecy law, Education Minister Shimomura Hakubun's new suggestions on what language teachers should use when talking about the Senkakus and Dokdo -- is it not all of a pattern?
But the pattern is not one of a shift to the right.
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's cronies are getting greedy, grabbing for stuff the public is not quite ready to cede to them, and which the public may never be willing to cede to them. These cronies are rightists, if by rightist you mean skeptical of/loathing China, tired of Japan's having World War II hung around its neck forever (and no, these cronies do not understand why persons hanging World War II around Japan's neck is possible) and pugnaciously defensive of a Japaneseness they alone can define.
It would be foolish for Abe, his sycophants and puppeteers to think the public is not aware of this piggishness and is not marking down in a ledger all the reasons it should not trust Abe and Friends.
The public has been exceedingly and aberrantly supportive of the Abe Cabinet and the Liberal Democratic Party. This support, however, does not evolve out of love for Abe policies, other than for the extremely activist and liberal (and contrary to longtime LDP theories on the national debt) macroeconomic program. According to the polls, the second most popular reason for supporting the Abe Cabinet, after the economic program, is "Because there is no appropriate alternative ready to step in."
Look around the political landscape of Japan today: to say that "there is no other appropriate person" ready to take Abe's place is really not that bizarre.
So "greedy Friends of Abe" + "liberal economics" + "little hope for anyone better" is supposed to equal "a shift to the right"?
I hope that that is not the math.
Photos: Japan’s PM Abe in the U.S.
1 hour ago