Japan will go to the polls on 22 October. Shinzo Abe, the current Prime Minister, smelled blood when he announced the snap election in late September. His main opposition, the Democratic party, was in disarray. Among his key platforms to drag voters back to polling stations: the use of tough diplomacy to deal with North Korea’s unstable leader Kim Jong Un, and channel funds from a proposed consumption tax hike to education. Mr Abe is expected to win, a victory which would make him the country’s longest-serving prime minister and give him more time to change the pacifist constitution.
Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, wants to spoil the fun. Ms Koike’s newly formed “Party of Hope” aims to bring down the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Though she is unlikely to win, surveys suggest that she could dent the LDP’s dominance. A former member herself, Ms Koike´s campaign platform differs only slightly from Mr Abe’s: she wants to end Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy and scrap the consumption tax. Abenomics, the prime minister’s economic revival plan, has failed to deliver, she says.
Regardless of who wins, the way forward for Japan will be a messy one. Whoever gets the top job must be firm with Pyongyang, manage a tricky relationship with Donald Trump, America’s hot-headed president, find solutions to the country´s urgent ageing crisis, and reinvigorate an economy that has too often flattered to deceive.
Taking place just four days after the election, The Economist Events' Japan Summit 2017 will bring together Japanese and international economic, political, business and social experts who, with editors from The Economist, will pick apart the result and examine the effect on the country and its future. Together, they will debate whether this is indeed a new dawn for Japan, or yet another false start.
ANZCCJ is a supporting organisation of this summit and as such, ANZCCJ members receive 20% off the standard rate with code ANZCCJ3342
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Date: 26 October 2017
Venue: Hotel Okura Tokyo (Map)
Registration Fees: Quote ANZCCJ3342 for 20% off the standard rate at check-out