Abe Resigning, Leaving Legacy of Light and Darkness

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 15 (Jiji Press)--After serving nearly eight years in office, outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has left a legacy of centralization of authority, bringing light and darkness to the country's politics.

Abe's successful effort to create a more powerful "Kantei," or prime minister's office, has weakened the ruling party's influence over the government.

His longtime rule led many bureaucrats to act on what they speculated were the wishes of Abe in a practice called "sontaku," which was particularly highlighted by a series of favoritism scandals.

"The Abe administration has made politics Kantei-led by creating the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs as a result of political reform," Tomoaki Iwai, an expert in modern Japanese politics, said, referring to the Cabinet Secretariat body that controls personnel matters in the bureaucracy.

Past prime ministers had weak authority, and they could not get anything rolling without seeking opinions from the ruling party, said Iwai, professor of political science at Nihon University. But the Abe administration has "realized a top-down style of decision-making," he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press