A sexist outburst from Japan’s Olympics chief derailed preparations for the rescheduled Tokyo Games and provoked an international furor. Mori Yoshiro’s antiquated attitudes are rooted in a conservative, authoritarian worldview that’s deeply entrenched on the Japanese right.
Gavan McCormack is emeritus professor of Australian National University, editor of the Asia-Pacific journal Japan Focus and author of many works on modern Japan and East Asia, which are commonly translated and published also in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
Suga Yoshihide, longtime aide to Abe Shinzo, has now replaced him as Japan’s prime minister. Suga will preserve the main features of Abe’s long stint in power: creeping militarism, subordination to the US, and a high-handed approach to political opposition.
Abe Shinzo’s government was slow to respond to COVID-19, lagging behind neighbors like South Korea. The public health crisis has been worsened by the recklessness of Abe’s foreign policy, which relies upon an erratic US sponsor whose bases are a vector for spreading the disease.
The Japanese prime minister’s plans for “resilience” will serve corporations and US military goals more than the Japanese people.