Everyone had been wondering when the real Shinzo Abe would bare the dark recesses of his political soul. There had been some glimpses, but with Abenomics in a swoon amid growing skepticism about its sustainability, Japan's prime minister finally ripped off his mask as he rammed secrecy legislation through the Diet, steamrollering an opposition in disarray.

It was a move reminiscent of his grandfather's denouement in 1960. Back then, Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi frog-marched the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty through the Diet in what turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory, because he was forced to step down due to massive street demonstrations and overwhelming public criticism.

I dub the last national legislative session of 2013 the "Terror Diet," because Shigeru Ishiba, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's secretary-general, alarmed the nation by likening anti-secrecy-law demonstrators to terrorists — so expressing an unsettling disdain for democracy and constitutional rights.