In advance of the August 3 reshuffle of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet, Sasakawa USA Fellow for Trade, Economy, and Business Tobias Harris was interviewed by CNBC Asia on the significance of the reshuffle and changes to be expected from the reshuffle.
When asked how important the reshuffle is for Prime Minister Abe, Harris said, “it’s extremely important because when you look at the Prime Minister’s tool box, [he] doesn’t have too many options in there when it comes to reversing or at least stabilizing the approval rating drop that we’ve seen over the last two to three months.” Harris went on to explain that Abe’s coalition’s supermajority in the Diet may make Abe wary of holding a snap election, since losing that majority could impede his ability to revise the Japanese constitution.
Harris was also quoted in a July 31 CNBC article on the implications of Prime Minister Abe’s poor approval rating on his economic plans for Japan. According to Harris, it will be harder for Abe to pursue the structural reforms that are a part of his Abenomics economic plan without public support.
“Strong public support gave Abe political capital with which to pursue controversial reforms,” said Harris, “but it also made him reluctant to use his political capital lest he risk his public support. Now, with his support falling, it’s that much harder for Abe to take risky policy decisions.”