Recent statements by the government of Shinzo Abe raise disturbing questions about decision-making in Japan. How much room is there in Abe's political view for questioning or debate or argument, let alone dissent? Or is he just dedicated to rewriting the Constitution to remove the taint of the Occupation, allow fully-fledged military forces, and thus make Japan a "normal" country — without considering what "normal" means or its implications — and to hell with anything else?

Consider some recent actions:

• The passing in late 2013 of the secrecy law, allowing the government virtually unchallenged powers to designate information in the fields of security and diplomacy almost without limits as "secrets," thus making topics related to the information virtually closed for public discussion.