A referendum?

Prime Minister Abe, speaking on NHK on Sunday, said that next month’s elections will be a referendum on his government’s record in office.

Let that sink in for a moment.

As I’ve argued before, what record exactly does the government have to run on? What does the government have to be proud of that will also attract the support of voters? Why isn’t the government instead arguing that the first nine months were just a warm up, and that after the next four years Japan will be so beautiful that other countries will shield their eyes in the face of Japan’s radiant beauty? (I mean, come on, why isn’t Abe using newly crowned Miss Universe Mori Riyo to signify the coming of his beautiful Japan?)

Also on Sunday morning, LDP Secretary-General Nakagawa Hidenao denied suggestions that Abe would resign if the LDP were to lose its Upper House majority, while hinting that his head would roll instead.

Put the two statements together. The election is to be a referendum on the government’s performance, but if the voters unseat the government in the Upper House, the head of the lead governing party will resign? How is that listening to the voters? What kind of a referendum is that?

I’m with MTC: this is all a bleak return to the dark pre-Koizumi days: contempt for voters and bread-and-circuses governance.

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