In case anyone still has any doubts, this article makes it clear that it is wholly unclear whose confidence Abe still enjoys. He is alone, but for his band of followers, and undoubtedly with each passing day, with each new poll that shows his cabinet’s support rate dipping lower and records public opposition to his remaining in office, his position and with it his party’s position grows ever more tenuous.
On that evening, Mori, Aoki, and Nakagawa had apparently discussed and agreed upon a caretaker Fukuda government, because Fukuda would “be calming, and ensure a sense of stability.” “But,” the article continues, “Fukuda is 71. Mori, who values Fukuda, persistently argued that this is a ‘provisional emergency plan.'” However, Nakagawa, representing the trio, met with the prime minister, who completely rejected the plan, and informed Mori directly that he will not go. The article suggests that Abe’s decision has killed the Fukuda caretaker government plan, but I’m not entirely sure whether that plan is dead or simply on hold until the “opposition forces” (to borrow a phrase from the Koizumi era and put it to entirely different use) can gather strength and force the prime minister to face the reality of his situation.
So again, what mandate does the Abe government enjoy at present? By whose leave is Abe still ensconced in the Kantei? Will the only way to get him out be a full-scale reenactment of the 1960 ampo demonstrations that Mr. Abe remembers so fondly? None of this should be all that surprising. Perhaps the most significant lesson I learned from reading his book is that Abe is driven by a sense of mission; while vague and ill-defined to the rest of the world, it is apparently clear to him inside his head, and nothing or nobody is going to interfere with his mission. Maybe Japan should think twice about the presidentialization of the premiership, if it is only going to result in a Kantei completely unaccountable to the rest of the government and the rest of a country as a whole.