Courageous or foolish?

The big story in political Japan today is that the drop in the rate of support for the Abe Cabinet has continued unabated, with the Asahi poll finding that the rate of support has dipped below the rate of people actively oppose to the cabinet.

What I found most interesting, however, was the Yomiuri poll (in Japanese), which asked which three issues voters want the Abe Cabinet to tackle. Coming in first, with 61.7%, was reforms related to pensions, health care, and social security; coming in second, policies to promote economic growth, with 52%; and beyond that, in no particular order, taxation, education, administrative reform, and growing inequality. My point here is that near the bottom of this list, clocking in with 6.2%, is constitution reform, the issue that Abe has declared to be the major point of contention in this summer’s Upper House election.

I realize, of course, that the mark of a good politician and great leader is a willingness to buck opinion to do what he or she thinks is right, but I think there’s a fine line between courageously standing up for one’s beliefs and ignoring the public’s concerns about the direction the country should go.

As such, after a poll — conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun no less — that shows the public favors dealing with just about every other issue on the agenda before constitutional revision, perhaps Abe should reconsider making this election the constitution election. So, I repeat my question: courageous or foolish?

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