The unpopular drive by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reinterpret the country's pacifist constitution is sapping his government's political power, a development that could ultimately make it harder for him to conclude a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, according to an Asia expert at Stanford University.
[Reposted from Inside US Trade | August 25, 2015]
Daniel Sneider, an associate director at Stanford's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, wrote in an Aug. 24 brief that the completion of TPP may "bog down" as Abe's political strength wanes. This is in part because it could make him more vulnerable to pressure from members of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) who represent farm districts and have urged Abe not to make concessions on sensitive agricultural goods in the talks.
According to Sneider, Abe's popularity is also being undermined as the initially promising results of his economic reform agenda evaporate, and this could further constrain his government in TPP. "If the Japanese economy continues to slow, as new data shows, the room for maneuver by the prime minister may significantly narrow," he wrote in the brief, which was published by the National Bureau of Asian Research.
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