Bill Emmott reviews THE ICONOCLAST

Bill Emmott, former editor-in-chief of The Economist, correspondent in Tokyo, and author of several notable books on Japan in his own right, not only generously provided a blurb for The Iconoclast but also penned a review for the Japan Society UK.

I appreciate his taking the time to read it and write a review, which is largely praiseworthy but raises a few critical points that I think are fair and quite pertinent. This one in particular is important:

A significant clue to this, which is given insufficient attention by Harris, is the presence in the governing coalition ever since 2012 of Komeito, the centrist party associated with the huge Soka Gakkai Buddhist organisation. One of the interesting questions about Japanese politics in recent times has been that of why an increasingly conservative LDP has chosen to tie itself to this smaller centre-right party even when it has not been necessary for its majority in the Diet. It may have helped with the super-majority, but Komeito, a nominally pacifist party, was never likely to favour the abolition of Article 9. To which one might add, why has Komeito lent its support to the LDP?

I admit that I probably gave short shrift to Komeito in writing Abe’s story, because surely one of the more interesting features of the past twenty years is that even as the LDP has become more conservative, it has grown increasingly dependent on a centrist, nominally pacifist coalition partner to win elections.

Anyway, you can find the rest of the review here. You can also participate in a webinar I will be doing with Bill for the Japan Society of the UK on Tuesday, 1 September. Register here.

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