SOAS University of London

Abenomics Revisited

23 October 2017

In the wake of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s electoral victory in Japan’s General Election on 22 October 2017, the journal Japan Forum has published a Perspectives Essay on ‘Abenomics’ by social scientists Sebastien Lechevalier (EHESS, Paris)  and Brieuc Monfort (Sophia University, Tokyo).

The article can be accessed from the Japan Forum journal.

Lechevalier and Monfort offer key insights useful to those interested in understanding the economic policies, successes and failures, that lay behind Abe’s Premiership up to this election victory.

The essay argues that both over-optimistic and over-pessimistic predictions have been wrong for the following reasons:

  • Some predictions were theoretically well-grounded but disconnected from Japan’s economic and political-economic context; others were too closely entwined with Japanese reality and excessively influenced by evaluations of the controversial figure of Abe, failing in this way to sufficiently consider quantitative data or define criteria of objective evaluation.

  • “Short-termism” is another problem that commonly afflicts discussions of Abenomics: relying on quarterly results in the absence of a broader view, this perspective is reflected in extreme (positive or negative) evaluations.

Perspectives Essays are a regular feature published by Japan Forum, the journal of the British Association for Japanese Studies, hosted by the SOAS Japan Research Centre.