Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to deliver policy speech on first sitting day of upper house

Today, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition government will convene an extraordinary session of Japan’s parliament. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party is

abe speech

Photo: AFP-JIJI

Today, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition government will convene an extraordinary session of Japan’s parliament.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party is expected to clash with its junior coalition partner, Komeito, over issues that include a 2% consumption tax hike and calls for social security reform.

However, observers will be keeping a close eye on a US-Japan trade deal signed last month that eliminates duties and grants preferential trade status to over 90% of US food and agricultural products going into Japan. It needs the approval of Japan’s parliament to come into force.

The deal is likely to face pushback today for serving the interests of US President Trump’s 2020 election campaign at the expense of Japanese commerce. It will also likely take flak for not covering auto tariffs, which Washington has considered levying at a rate of 2.5%.

In today’s opening speech, expect Abe to double down on his trade deal and laud it as a victory for Japan. Whether or not Japanese lawmakers are convinced will impact Abe’s chances of getting them behind his other legislative initiatives this session, which may include a future attempt to secure a trade deal addressing the auto tariff issue.

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