The Straits Times says

Abe needs sharper focus in third term

Japan's most hawkish premier since World War II is set to become its longest-serving one. Mr Shinzo Abe last week won the leadership contest of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and will remain as prime minister for a third consecutive three-year term from next month. With a two-thirds majority in each Chamber of Parliament and sturdy approval ratings that survived two favouritism scandals, he is well placed to continue chasing his goals: getting the slow-moving economy to hum, arresting a decline in population and revising the country's pacifist Constitution.

But the climb hereon gets steeper. The monetary and fiscal measures that were the first two arrows of Abenomics halted decades of deflation, brought unemployment to the lowest in nearly 25 years and filled up the coffers of companies as well as the government. The Nikkei Stock Average more than doubled since Mr Abe moved into Kantei in 2012. In his third term, he is expected to make more headway with the third arrow of Abenomics, which calls for structural reforms and further opening up of one of the world's most closed-off nations. An essential component is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, derailed by US President Donald Trump last year and admirably rescued by Mr Abe, working in concert with other partner nations. His support for the even broader Asean-led deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is a step in the same direction to create more opportunities for trade and growth.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2018, with the headline 'Abe needs sharper focus in third term'. Print Edition | Subscribe