Topic Of The Day:-“The Abe manoeuvre

Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party has secured a resounding victory for a third term in the poll to the Lower House of Japan’s Diet. The development bucks the recent trend in advanced economies of incumbents being returned with much-reduced margins. A vindication of his decision to call elections a year ahead of schedule, the outcome increases Mr. Abe’s prospects of winning a third term next year as leader of his conservative party and becoming Japan’s longest-serving premier. The deeper import of the verdict, however, lies in the requisite two-thirds mandate to press ahead with plans to revise the country’s U.S.-backed post-War pacifist constitution to reflect current geopolitical realities. The prospect of securing such a large majority had seemed in doubt given the public scepticism over amending the charter, coupled with a drop in Mr. Abe’s personal ratings. Now, having cleared that hurdle, he would hope to garner support to accord legal status to the Japan Self-Defence Forces, leaving intact the no-war provisions in the 1947 constitution. In this, he would count on the backdrop of escalating tensions over North Korea’s nuclear belligerence and China’s growing military influence in the region. But public approval of the proposal in a plebiscite will be the all-important challenge. Sunday’s verdict was otherwise largely a foregone conclusion, as the charismatic Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, did not even contest the race from the new platform she had launched, the Party of Hope. In any case, her fundamentally conservative orientation, even on the constitution, left voters with no real alternative. The opposition Democratic Party, facing months of internal turmoil, initially considered fielding candidates under the banner of Ms. Koike’s party. But the latter’s insistence on a loyalty test for nominees led to a split within the opposition.  With a firm mandate, the government should be able to focus more on the Abenomics strategy to further stimulate growth and demand. A June assessment of the International Monetary Fund points to the country’s sustained growth and record unemployment as evidence of the success of the model. Also significant is the Fund’s support for the Bank of Japan’s continued loose monetary policy in the face of weak demand. Mr. Abe’s poll promise to further boost the fiscal stimulus should please critics who say that concerns over public debt were being overplayed. Whereas Mr. Abe is weighing a sharp increase in the controversial consumption tax up to 10% by 2019, the Fund has proposed a more calibrated approach. Such an alternative may be the right course in a country with a declining working-age population, and faced with persistently low consumer spending. Mr. Abe has his eyes set on seeing the country through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Japan will by then be a very different country from what it was in 1964, when it first hosted the Summer Games.


1) Resounding

Meaning: Unmistakable; emphatic.

Example: “the evening was a resounding success”

Synonyms: Enormous, Huge

2) Bucks

Meaning: Oppose or resist (something oppressive or inevitable).

Example: “the shares bucked the market trend”

Synonyms: Resist, Oppose

3) Incumbents

Meaning: The holder of an office or post.

Example: “the present incumbent will soon be retiring”

Synonyms: Holder, Occupant

4) Post-War

Meaning: Occurring or existing after a war (especially the Second World War).

Example:”post-war Britain”

5) Pacifist

Meaning: A person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable.

Example: “she was a committed pacifist all her life”

Synonyms: Objector, Conscientious

Antonyms: Warmonger

6) Scepticism

Meaning: A sceptical attitude; doubt as to the truth of something.

Example: “these claims were treated with scepticism”

Synonyms: Doubt

Antonyms: Conviction, Belief

7) Backdrop

Meaning: Lie behind or beyond; serve as a background to.

Example: “the rolling hills that backdropped our camp”

8) Belligerence

Meaning: Aggressive or warlike behaviour.

Example: “Mortimer was eyeing Guy with belligerence”

Synonyms: Aggressive

9) Plebiscite

Meaning: The direct vote of all the members of an electorate on an important public question such as a change in the constitution.

Example: “the administration will hold a plebiscite for the approval of constitutional reforms”

Synonyms: Vote, Referendum

10) Foregone

Meaning: Past.

Example: “poets dream of lives foregone in worlds fantastical”

Synonyms: Past, Former

Antonyms: Recent

11) Stimulate

Meaning: Encourage or arouse interest or enthusiasm in.

Example: “the reader could not fail to be stimulated by the ideas presented”

Synonyms: Encourage, Prompt

Antonyms: Discourage, Uninspiring

12) Overplayed

Meaning: Give undue importance to; overemphasize.

Example: “he thinks the idea of a special relationship between sitter and artist is much overplayed”

13) Calibrated

Meaning: Carefully assess, set, or adjust (something abstract).

Example: “the regulators cannot properly calibrate the risks involved”

Synonyms: Assessment