In Abe’s Japan, everything’s fine

At the LDP website, it’s 大丈夫 time. (For non-Japanese readers, the word is daijyoubu, and it means essentially “everything’s fine” or “all right” — try saying it like a surfer dude.)

On the main page, overlaid over a picture of cool-biz Abe with a gentle sky-blue background, are links to campaign materials that inform readers that “Your pension is daijyoubu!!” and “Japanese agriculture: if the LDP, daijyoubu.” (Somehow without the sky blue it wouldn’t have the same effect.)

And then there’s the new campaign posters that will proliferate throughout Japan any day now. Using the same Abe-with-sky-blue-background picture, the posters feature a slogan designed to highlight the idea that the Koizumi era is long gone: “To realize growth!”

Cue the crickets.

Pretty much par for the course, as Japanese campaigning goes.

Seriously though, the mood conveyed by the LDP’s aesthetic choices for the Upper House campaign season could not be better calculated to shed the harsh image exuded by former Prime Minister Koizumi. Koizumi’s posters featured active, even violent verbs, and his whole administration had a disruptive, frenetic air: destroying the LDP, issuing reform idea after reform idea from the CEFP, expelling opponents from the party, and then dispatching assassins to deprive them of their seats.

But gone are the assassins. Now, says the LDP to voters, don’t worry yourself with all that unpleasantness about structural reform and changing the LDP; just focus on economic growth.

Hear that voters? Everything is fine. Your pensions are safe. Stop calling the Social Insurance Agency. Go shopping instead.

Ladies and gentlemen, Abe Shinzo’s LDP!

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