I was a Shinzo Abe skeptic. That’s putting it mildly. After all, I was still living in Japan when Abe’s disastrous first term in office put a halt to the reform process begun by Junichiro Koizumi and ushered in a return to the bad old days of prime minister musical chairs that paralyzed Japan in the 1990s.
When Abe swept back into power in 2012, I thought he was just going to try to talk down the yen and give a little boost to stocks, increasing his public support just long enough to ram through a revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution. I thought he was going to ignore Japan’s moribund economy and long-festering social problems in order to throw red meat to his right-wing backers.
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