“Right Wing”

In mid-December, a new right wing government was elected in Japan. Some people have even described it as “far right”. So, now it’s in office, what has it done?

The first concrete policy announcement was a ¥20 trillion (about $200 billion) spending package to boost the economy, with an emphasis on public works, such as reconstructing Tohoku, improving the earthquake resistance of schools, and testing and repairing ageing infrastructure.

The second concrete policy announcement was a rise in the top rate of income tax from 40% to 45%, and in the top rate of inheritance tax from 50% to 55%, with the explicit goal of reducing income inequality in society.

Just like the UK Conservatives or US Republicans, then. Right? Really?

Posted in Japan.

3 Comments

  1. Very interesting comparison. I’ve heard that here in the US our entire spectrum is skewed so far right, that our left looks conservative to many other countries, but had not seen so dramatic an example. I have also heard that in Japan, the “extreme right” wants such controversial measures as asking children to learn the national anthem!

    It’s fascinating how different nations, and even regions view their political ideologies, as well as those of other countries. Also interesting is how different issues are seen as being conservative or liberal, or or how nations may be very conservative on specific issues while being very liberal on others. While Japan may be far more progressive in areas like taxation or income equality or gun control, I understand that they are much slower to adopt gay rights, or gay marriage or women’s rights than many areas of the US (Not to say that all the states over here are coming along at the same rate.) In Washington State, for instance, legalizing Marijuana just passed by a much larger margin than legalizing gay marriage, but nobody will even touch gun control, in spite of the recent rash of mass shootings. Confusing, but fascinating.

    I think it’s fun to see what issues are more important in different locations, and how people respond to them.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    I don’t know that Japan can be “much slower” than the US on gay marriage, at least not yet; it’s barely accepted over there. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was quick here, because homosexuality really doesn’t seem to be an issue. On the other hand, allowing a married couple to have different legal surnames is a very controversial hot-button topic.

    Women’s rights are interesting. Women have exactly the same legal rights as men, but the practical implementation of equality is maybe thirty years behind the west, roughly speaking. It means that very average Western husbands get extreme praise from Japanese women married to Japanese men.

    As you say, the differences between countries are very interesting. Coming in with the categories learned elsewhere is rarely helpful.

Leave a Reply