Considering that Shinzo Abe's first reign as prime minister of Japan lasted precisely one year from September 26, 2006 until September 26 of the following year, when he voluntarily resigned due to diarrhea, the fact that he has managed to stay in power for nearly 3 years since ascending to power for the second time in December 2012 and unleashing the currency-crushing and market-surging policy of unprecedented debt and deficit monetization known as "Abenomics" is quite impressive.
It also confirms that as long as the stock market keeps going higher politicians have nothing to fear even if it means a total collapse in living standards for the rest of the population.
Yet even with the Nikkei pushing on 18 years highs, it appears that Abe may have reached his rigged market rating benefit cap, because even as the Nikkei was soaring, Abe's approval rating was plunging.
As we reported a month ago, "Abe Cabinet's approval rating plunged to 39%, matching a record low, as more than half of voters oppose the new US-sanctioned military/security legislation being debated in the Diet.... As his popularity has waned, Abe has become more and more desperate to keep support and has, for the first time in 70- years, lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18."
The overall decline in support was apparently attributable to the fact that 53 percent of the respondents oppose the security bills being deliberated in the Lower House. Only 29 percent support the legislation, the survey showed.
Three constitutional law scholars said in the Lower House Commission on the Constitution on June 4 that the security legislation is unconstitutional. The Abe Cabinet countered their stance by releasing an opinion paper that said the bills do not violate the Constitution.
Since then things have gone from bad to worse for Abe, whose popularity rating last week plunged to a record low, while the number of Japanese citizens who disapprove of his policies has finally surpassed 50%, and rose to 52.6% in a Sankei poll, while the 47news.com poll shown below shows approval at just under 38% while dispparoval at 52%.
It spilled over last night when after years of growing resentment to their premier who panders to the rich, to big exporters, to the Japanese military-industrial complex, and of course, to the US government and Goldman Sachs (whose idea Abenomics was from the very beginning) thousands of protestors rallied Friday night in downtown Tokyo in a campaign of "Say no to the Abe government," targeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "runaway" policy. The protestors gathered at the Hibiya Park, Diet building and the prime minister's official residence, shouting "Abe step down," "definitely oppose war" and "protect constitution."
People hold up signs saying "No to the Abe administration" in a gathering at Hibiya Park in Tokyo on July 24, 2015. They expressed opposition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policies on a wide range of issues such as national security bills, the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade initiative and the planned relocation of a U.S. military base within Okinawa Prefecture.
[Photos: Imagine China]
According to CRI, the anger of the Japanese population was sparked ever since the Abe administration started to push forward a series of controversial security-related bills in parliament debates.
On Friday, the Japanese bicameral Diet decided to set up a special panel at the upper house to debate the security bills. The legislation package was rammed through the lower house last week.
The bills, if enacted, will allow Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to exercise the right to collective self-defense, but Japan's war-renouncing constitution bans the SDF from doing so.
Japan's former prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, who delivered a speech Thursday evening during a rally near the Diet, again participated in Friday's demonstration, criticizing Prime Minister Abe for carrying out an autocratic politics and defying Japan's democratic system.
The former prime minister, who is famous for his 1995 statement offering an apology to countries that suffered Japan's wartime atrocities, stressed that it is very proud for Japan to renounce war under the pacifism constitution.
The security bills will be discussed at the upper house special panel from Monday. Latest polls showed that majority of Japanese people opposed the bills and about 90 percent of Japanese constitutional experts said the bills are unconstitutional.
In the immediate aftermath of the forced passage the controversial bills in the lower house Abe's approval rate tumbled 10 percentage points immediately while the disapproval rate surged to over 50 percent.
So what happens next? Unless Abe relents and pockets his military expansion ambitions, it is very likely that another massive, and career ending, blast of diarrhea is in the prime minister's immediate future.
But first, as we said one month ago, and now as others admit, Abe will do everything in his power to, well, stay in power. Which is quite limited, i.e., print more.
As Bloomberg reports, expectations for further BOJ easing may increase amid a falling approval rating of PM Abe’s Cabinet, says Daisaku Ueno, Tokyo-based chief currency strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, in an interview. Uen adds that market participants are focusing on whether Cabinet’s approval rating can maintain key 30% level amid possible passage by upper house of security bills this summer and ahead of upper house elections in July 2016.
His assessment: there is rising risk that BOJ will be pressured to ease policy further in autumn when govt is likely to struggle to find funding sources for its budgets.
Which reveals one more important aspect of QE: in addition to being the only catalyst pushing stocks to record highs even as the global economy slides into recession if not outright depression, it has become the new normal politicians' favorite and only means of holding on to power: if ratings plunge, print; if they continue plunging, print some more.
By the time Abe is finally booted out of power, peacefully or otherwise, the Yen may well be at 200 which in turn will be the catalyst that finally destroys the already careening Japanese economy. But destroyed cataclysm and demographic disaster aside, at least the Nikkei will have hit all time record highs.