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Regarding the Sept. 5 editorial “Keep a close eye on new Cabinet” and the Sept. 6 editorial “Biggest defense budget requests”: The painted mask on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies is worn thin. We see that, like the appointment of five women to his reshuffled Cabinet, the true nature of his intentions may be more cosmetic than progressive.

After he’d solemnly sworn not to redirect the consumption tax toward his own agenda, his government now wants an astounding ¥5 trillion for Japan’s biggest-ever “defense” budget — at a time when social services have been so slashed that many people are nearing or sinking below the poverty line and as Japan maintains the dubious honor of reporting one of the worst suicide rates in the world.

The meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant — the worst tragedy for Japan since the nuclear bombs of World War II — was a real chance for Japan to scrap its suicidal nuclear energy ambitions. But now it seems that, if anything, the Abe government wants more nuclear power, not less. And Keidanren’s apparent efforts to remonetize its relationship with government ministries smack of prewar feudal nepotism.

To top it all, some of Abe’s Cabinet picks show glimpses of suspected neo-Nazi sympathies amid the worst GDP second-quarter results in decades. Certainly, despite all the high-profile publicity stunts with which Abe dazzles the public, he may not be the right person to lead, especially in light of belated revelations of his expressions of sympathy for “war criminals” in April. It makes one wonder what other secrets may be buried too deep to be detected until it’s too late for Japan to pull back from Abe’s confrontational style of revisionism.

david john
chikushino, fukuoka

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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