To Be Japan's New Leader

贡献者:小酸 类别:英文 时间:2020-09-06 10:39:43 收藏数:11 评分:0
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The Japanese economy has taken a historic nosedive. The coronavirus could yet rage out of control
and force a second postponement of the Olympics. America, Japan's closest ally, is embroiled in a
polarizing presidential election. And those are just the immediate challenges for the politicians
jockeying fiercely to replace Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is leaving office a year early with
no obvious successor.
Japan is confronting labor shortages as it stubbornly low birthrate, as well as snags in bringing
in foreign workers. With the highest proportion of elderly people in the world, Japan could soon
struggle to meet pension obligations and provide health care to the aging public.
"It makes me wonder why anybody would want to be prime minister," said Jeffrey Hornung, an analyst
at the RAND Corp. But there is no shortage of aspirants. Abe's conservative party, the Liberal
Democratic Party, will announce on Tuesday whether it will call an extraordinary election limited to
its members of Parliament and a few prefectural representatives, or a vote that would involve all
the party's 1 million members.
For now, the most pressing priority for the next prime minister will be restoring the economy,
battered by a worldwide pandemic-related downturn. Japan already has the biggest debt load in
the developed world relative to the size of its economy and has spent heavily to stimulate
economic activity.
"This is such a heavy lift even before you get to structural change and demographics or
any of these larger Japan-specific problems," said Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan
studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.