Challenges Faced by The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan

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Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is Japan’s largest and longest existing party which has held power nearly consecutively from its inception in 1955. It was formed immediately after the end of the United States Forces Occupation in 1955 by merging the two political parties (Reed, 2018). The LDP was established in 1881 and was prominent for its sovereignty, and democratic reform. The other party was the Constitutional Reform Party which was a more moderate alternative, instituted in 1882 and mainly strived for parliamentary democracy similar to that of Britain. When the two parties came together in 1955 to form a new party (LDP); they also streamlined their policies.

Liberal Democratic Party over the past years of tenure has continually worked closely with the commercial interests as well as followed pro-United States foreign policy. These coupled with other reasons might be the reason behind its long dominance in Japan’s politics. Significantly, for almost forty years of uninterrupted power (1955-1993), the party oversaw Japan’s exceptional reconstruction after its destruction in WWII as well as its growth into an economic superpower. Additionally, during this tenure the party gained a lot of respect and popularity from the Japanese people (Reed, 2018). However, despite their achievements and positive accreditations, the Liberal Democratic Party has recently encountered numerous challenges both domestically and internationally in implementing its policies. Some of the challenges include and not limited to: demographic trends, fear of return of deflation of national economy, opposition to collective self-defense legislation, security challenges from North Korea and China, opposition to the unleashing of military and nuclear revival as well as uncertain direction of change in reforming the economy.

Challenges facing Liberal Democratic Party

As earlier stated there are numerous challenges currently facing the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, in this section I will discuss at least three challenges. One of the aforementioned challenges that I will discuss is the Japan’s demographic drag, shrinkage and sinking. The other which I will discuss are fear of return of deflation of national economy, opposition to collective self-defense legislation, security challenges from North Korea and China, opposition to the unleashing of military and nuclear revival as well as uncertain direction of change in reforming the economy.

Japan’s Demographic trends

Despite the 1950s rocketing of Japanese economy, the current economy is similar to a bubble characterized by small increase and decrease in growth within the recent years. Some economists and academicians argue that Japan is in an economic crisis. One of the primary goals of Liberal Democratic Party is to stabilize and recover its economy again; however, the party has not made significant progress over the past years since its rise to power. One of the underlying reasons for its insignificant progress made by the party in economic development is Japan's demographic drag over the recent years. Demographic time bomb or simply demographic drag is considered as one of the most challenging issues affecting nearly all aspects of life from economy to society. According to Lincoln,“since the 1970s, Japan has had a birth rate of less than two children.” Japan’s birth rates are low, and there are more elderly than children. Because of low birth rates and lack of children in rural places, schools got closed. Despite the higher life expectancy, the overall population is shrinking making Japan to be on its process of being the world’s first “ultra-aged” nation meaning that over 28% of the total population is over 65 years of age (Lincoln, 272).

The most apparent implication of its aging population is reducing labor which in turn leads to slow economic growth. Labor shortage, bad economy, and aging population are one of the things wrong with Japan. It’s population is shrinking about 400,000 a year. Japan is not really open to immigration but is letting in low skilled workers and sometimes high skilled workers like nurses. Some of the workers are refugees and stay in shelters. Most of them believe they are being taken advantage of, and abused. Japan is more open to people who are ethnically Japanese to work for them. Language requirement is necessary in order to work there and be successful. People might be avoiding Japan and going to Taiwan because their language requirement is not as strict as Japan’s. Accepting outsiders might change their society in a good way, if they’re being treated fairly. Japan still has a sense of superiority after all these years over its neighbors. They still believe that they’re different and better than them. With a lack of productivity and capital, its economic growth will decrease. Individuals might continue to work to an older age but then such population lack enough energy to significantly increased productivity (Lincoln, 273).

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Moreover, Japan’s retirement age over the years has been generous thus changing the direction might not be welcome by many. Besides the above implications, aging population and especially reduce overall population is the reduction in the consumption. Reduced consumption has forced the liberal democratic government and policy makers to dish out a generous stimulus package in order to safeguard the fragile economy. Nevertheless, it has worsened the demographic issue as it necessitated for increment of taxes making the young population to postpone marriage and commencement of family. The government has tried its best to promote young individuals to pro-create as well as urged companies to increase workers’ wages so as to assist their workers to attain a healthy living standards but their efforts have not led to enough outcomes (Lincoln, 2009).

The Fear of Return of Deflation of National Economy

The fear of return of deflation to the nation’s economy is another pressing challenge facing the reigning Liberal Democratic Party of Japan in its objective of improving the country’s economy. With the existing high debt coupled with Prime Minister Abe continued issuing of new debts to finance stimulus packages aimed at pushing the nation’s low-growth economy has led to the fear that return in deflation of the national economy will negatively impact the repayment of debts and risking the country into debt default as well as high borrowing expenses. Deflation is not good because it makes loan repayment difficult as well as complicates the financial policy. Prime Minister Abe ran on a platform based on economic prosperity, and the people didn’t really have another option. PM Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party during the second tenure was to end deflation which had heavily hit the country after its bubble economy in 1989. To reverse the situation, the prime minister launched a number of economic policies often referred to as “Abenomics” in order to assist in ending the nation’s deflationary struggle. However, despite the implementation of such policies the Liberal Democratic Party still fear that nation might return back to its deflationary stage (Lincoln, 2009).

Opposition to Collective Self-defense Legislation, Nuclear Revival and Unleashing of Military

The single most important legislation pushed by the Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the self-defense legislation. Many people believed PM Abe’s notion of collective self-defense to be unconstitutional due to Article 9 statingthat self-defense force is legal because it's defense only. It also only allowed individual self-defense not collective defense. “Abe’s collective defense could lead to the involvement of Japanese troops in military operations with allies such as the United States (Dudden, 224). PM Abe is trying to change the constitution to have collective self-defense (article 50- NATO), but it’s hard for him to do so. The Liberal Democratic Party and its supporters argue that the legislation should have been in action before; Japanese troops could have assisted their ally, the United States during the attack of their flagships within the Japanese water territory. However, many non-supporters rejected the idea asserting that it goes against independence constitution. Moreover, those who reject the legislation assert that such a move will change the ability of Japanese troops other activities which are more than just defending Japan such as their engagement in peacekeeping under the command of United Nation as well as their engagement in humanitarian relief activities that many Japanese support. Surprisingly, the United States supports the legislation even though after 1945 they were against Japan’s military recovery (Dudden, 2015).

Besides the challenge of opposition of the collective self-defense legislation, the Liberal Democratic Party also encounters nuclear revival and unleashing of military legislation challenges. The restarting of the nuclear reactors that PM Abe and its party supports has faced a lot of opposition from the majority who feel that nuclear revival is not safe, especially after the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns. Nonetheless, PM Abe and his party have not back downed in their advocacy for restarting of the reactors and won (Kingston, 236). Unleashing of military and sharing of security intelligence is also another thing supported by Liberal Democratic Party that has received a lot of objections from the public. Many of them still argue that such a move is unconstitutional, impediment of their democratic values as well as violation of the freedom of the press and a move against openness and accountability. In fact, some hold the view that the legislation might be used by the government to conceal their negative or unlawful actions (Kingston, 237).

Security Challenges from North Korea

Security and stability is a significant component for the development of any person, organization and nation. There are various aspects of security ranging from food security, job security and most importantly security against any attack. Among these three aspects, food security and security against any attack, for example an attack by terrorists ; are very significant and are universal since without them, the economy cannot run. Peaceful and secure conditions encourage businesses to increase and bloom as it provides a favorable environment for people to carry them out. Additionally, a peaceful and secure environment encourages investments as well as promoting technological and educational advancement. Hence, North Korean’s President Kim Joung-un’s security threats is significant facing the LDP. Despite PM Abe’s efforts of improving Japan’s military up to a position where they can counter such threats, their threats left Japanese citizens without hope. Japanese people still trying to heal from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War as well as the more recent tsunami, nuclear reactors meltdowns which left many people with injuries they are still recovering from today.

Unclear Change Direction in Economy Reformation.

Economy reformation and restoration especially after the bubble economy period of 1989 is the aspirations of many Japanese and is one of the reasons for electing the Liberal Democratic Party under the leadership of Prime Minister Abe. During the election campaigns, one of the campaign tools that the Liberal Democratic Party to convince voters to vote for them was promise of economic restoration. In fact, PM Abe came up with “Abenomics” which was a reform geared towards economic restoration. Many Japanese believed that “Abenomics” will significantly restore the economy which was in shambles during the second entry of the Liberal Democratic Party after its defeat from Democratic Party. However, despite greater strides it has achieved, it is still unclear whether it will finally restore the economy. For instance, despite the numerous laws and regulations changes over the past years, the fruits have not been really attained and hence economic performance is still uncertain state. In fact a couple of Japanese people and the Liberal Democratic Party in general are anxious about the longevity and implications of the changes its has taken so far (Lincoln,2009).


The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan despite its many achievements over the time it has been in power currently faces a lot of challenges such as demographic trends, fear of return of deflation of national economy, opposition to collective self-defense legislation, security challenges from North Korea and China, opposition to the unleashing of military and nuclear revival as well as uncertain direction of change in reforming the economy. Nevertheless, among these challenges there most significant challenges that the Liberal Democratic Party are the demographic trends problems and uncertainty of economic reforms.

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