A Xinhua News editorial laments the victory of the Liberal Democratic Party in last weekend’s election and the imminent elevation of Shinzo Abe as Japan’s new prime minister:
LDP leader Shinzo Abe was hawkish on the campaign trail, which forecasts more assertive foreign and defense policies by the government he will head. And one of the major things on his to-do list is bolstering Japan’s military and coastal defenses.
Though Abe paid lip service to improving China-Japan relations after the election, no specific proposals have been made by Japanese political parties to mend relations with Japan’s neighbors. And his words so far on the islands dispute with China run counter to better relations.
The LDP’s manifested foreign and defense policies won’t win Japan friends. Instead, they may destabilize East Asia.
Abe adds another dimension to the standoff in the East China Sea, according to Mark McDonald of The New York Times. He wasted little time in warning China over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, telling a reporter that Japan would not concede “one millimetre” of territory and encouraging China to “think anew” about a mutually beneficial approach to the issue. The LDP’s return to power shows that Japan has grown increasingly nationalistic, says Ian Bremmer, who tells Reuters that Japan was “Godzilla” in a year filled with big elections:
The next logical step for Japan is to engage with other countries that are concerned about China’s rise. That, of course, means strengthening ties with the United States just as much of the country wants to move beyond the legacy of U.S. influence in the country. But reducing its reliance on China could be wise in the long term for a country trying to fend off a neighbor whose growth isn’t going to stall anytime soon. What Japan wants to avoid
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