Yesterday was a historical turning point for Japan, my passport country. A parliamentary election led to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (自由民主党 in Japanese) and its coalition take the majority in both the upper and the lower house. For at least the next three years LDP can push almost any agenda.
The generous consensus about LDP and Shinzo Abe, its leader, is as written in the linked article.
For policymakers in Washington, as well as those in neighboring Asian countries, Abe’s increased power is welcome so long as he focuses mainly on reviving the economy. But Abe, whose grandfather was arrested but never charged as a war criminal, has deeply rooted nationalist feelings, and he has a track record of downplaying Japan’s World War II atrocities.
There are two problems. One is that his economic strategy, labeled Abenomics, is a huge hoax. The other is that his right-wing agenda has a far more menacing implication than it already sounds.
To know the true color of his economic “reforms,” go to zerohedge.com and type Abenomics into the search box. You can easily see that it is just another fake attempt to revive the economy by printing bills using taxpayer’s money but not bringing any reforms to the fundamentals of the society. None of Japan’s major issues—bureaucracy on steroids, seniority system, mounting public debt (200% of the GDP and still counting), outdated industrial model—has been tackled in a meaningful manner.
Yet as bad as the economic situation sounds, the true evil is in the other issue, LDP’s ultranationalistic agenda. They will take Japan back in time to the pre-WWII state by changing the laws and constitution. We know their fantasy will evaporate sooner or later, but probably not before creating military conflicts and civilian casualties. Yesterday was the George W. Bush inauguration moment for Japan. All the new government needs to trigger a fatal move is its 911, which looks like a matter of time considering the other hawkish leader in China.
Personally, there are two issues that will influence (or haunt) me for a long time.
One is the fact that I did not vote. Yes, I did not do that one thing I must have done. I just realized that I had not voted when the voting was almost over. I thought I knew the significance of this election. I had discussed about the danger of Japan’s militarism on my Twitter account. All I had to do was to hop on a plane to make a weekend round-day trip. But I did not.
Sure the result was expected, but there is no excuse: I indirectly helped the fascism movement take over Japan by not voting for the opposition parties, and I need to live with that fact. Something deep inside my heart must have told me that it wasn’t that important for me to vote. I still don’t know what that was.
Another issue is the realization that I truly lost the option to return to my passport country, potentially for a very long time. Even though I had been telling everybody, including myself, that being a nomad was my life, this half-assed optimistic ideal was supported by the fact that I always had a place to go back. Now that I lost my Plan B, I REALLY need to become nomadic and optimistic. It is also likely that I need to become Plan B for my family, being the only member living outside Japan.
I now realize that my old life is gone. My new life will not going to be all rosy: there might be times that I feel unsafe, make others feel unsafe, or need to apologize to everybody, all because of my nationality and what my passport country does. As I write this article, it is 3:00 am, the darkest period of the day. Can I make the future, at least for myself and my family, as bright as the upcoming morning?