Victory of Trump in the US presidential election and the high support rate of Prime Minister Abe are phenomena which share the same nature. A difference lies in a fact that citizens stage counter-movements despite Mr. Trump’s violent statements in the United States, meanwhile in Japan Abe is ‘prudent’ but the people’s side is weak in the counterattack. The two incidents surprise the world. What do they mean to people?
WHAT MUST WE DO TO COPE WITH DANGEROUS PHENOMENA?
The neo-liberal policy package has been inherited since the Reagan-Nakasone era in the 1980s. It has produced serious social distortions, which, consequently, has led to an explosion, the Lehman Shock. The two administrations, one, of Obama and the other, of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), represent a kind of repulsion to the neo-liberal line amid the turmoil.
The two governments, however, lack powerful alternative strategies and mass movements are not enough. People have been suffering from poverty and inequality. In Japan, agonizing with distrust and dissatisfaction to politics, people are in dismay to have pushed up the Abe government and the political force represented by the Ishin (=Renovation) group of Mr. Hashimoto in the absence of a prospect for a social change. Four years later now, in the United States, a kind of monster, a multiplexed blend of Abe and Hashimoto, has emerged from the chaos.
The Obama administration tried to curb the declining income redistribution mechanism by restricting global speculative actions of financial capitals and sought to create a universal health insurance system. A certain political group could not obey the ‘regulative measures’ to free performance of profit-making and has picked up Mr. Trump with an ‘anti-Wall Street’ slogan, taking advantage of dissatisfactions of the unemployed.
However, immediately after victory in the election, the president-elect has taken off an ‘anti-Wall Street’ masquerade and chosen a person from the Wall Street to fill the post of Secretary of Finance. He unleashes his policies: reduction of corporate taxes, abolition of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (=reform for the financial regulations) and backing-up of investment in infrastructure. The Wall Street hails, stock market surges and the US currency recovers trust to rise rapidly.
Japanese media say ‘unexpected’, referring to the victory of Mr. Trump, high appreciation in the stock market and his selection of Secretaries. However, judging from the deepening contradictions of world capitalism for these decades, the events could have been anticipated to happen. Certainly, majority of the Wall Street fellows were supporters of Hillary Clinton. But they are, simply, priests who serve for capital, their fetish.
In the past in Japan, the zaibatsu, or giant family concerns, were targeted for attacks by right-wing terrorists as they cautiously weighed earnings in a balance of war and peace. The zaibatsu swiftly allied with the war side to make money when power balance altered.
The coming government of the United States is to repeat the fruitless policies without arrangements by force. The occurrence of high stock prices means a reflux of speculative money from developing nations, which may rekindle currency crisis in Asia. A severer panic may come that should go beyond the Lehman Shock. Collapse of TPP does not produce a relief, but a pressure of Trump-version Standard through a US-Japan free trade agreement. Appallingly, competitions for deregulation will begin and an assertion of ‘self-defense’ with nuclear armament will come into sight.
Nevertheless, we see Bernie Sanders in the US. Anti-Trump movements rise like flood waves among young people. They have a hope.
How about Japan? Is another Trump crawling somewhere?
The point is not about the US, but Japan.
December 6, 2016