Japan has the opportunity in the Dec. 14 election to break away from its past obsession with measuring GDP growth. Voters can change the national scorecard to a system-wide view of infrastructural assets and quality of life.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe blames the opposition camp for criticizing "Abenomics" without presenting lternatives. But finding a way to put today's economy on a virtuous circle is akin to trying to create something out of nothing.
Cozy relationships between Japan's mainstream media and politicians have helped to enable much of the cronyism, irresponsible behavior and policy drift that the prime minister is supposedly trying to eradicate.
The hard reality is that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's vaunted economic reforms will not work unless he shows more guts, much more imagination and a lot more humility in dealing with a modern economy that cannot be commanded by fiat.
The upcoming election vote could well leave Shinzo Abe with a smaller mandate for change than he won in 2012. Whatever the margin, though, the prime minister needs to act faster to increase competitiveness.