On Friday 8 July, a few minutes after 5pm local time, Shinzo Abe was pronounced dead. The former PM of Japan, and one of the most influential bourgeois politicians of the last decade, not only in his country but in East Asia generally, was assassinated while making an electoral speech in favour of one of his fellow Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) members.

On Friday 3 September, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that he would not be running in the leadership contest of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) scheduled for later this month. This effectively means that he will be stepping down as Prime Minister after barely a year in office. However, given the general crisis of Japanese capitalism, what we are seeing here isn’t just the end of Suga’s own political career, but the end of relative political stability that the ruling class has managed to maintain for the past decade. In Japan, a new, turbulent epoch of political instability is being ushered in.

The shambolic, much-delayed Tokyo Olympics open tomorrow. The Games proceed without fans, and amidst general disapproval from Japanese workers and youth, who rightly fear the danger of spreading COVID-19, and are enraged at the cynical attempts by the bosses to force them to make up their shortfall from ticket sales.

On 1 December, a feature article about the IMT made the main headline on the front page of one of Japan’s top daily newspapers. The Mainichi Shimbun (“The Daily Paper”) is Japan’s oldest major newspaper, founded in 1872 and published twice daily, with a circulation of 4 million. We publish below for our readers the English translation of the article, entitled The Internationale Resounds in NYC—Socialism Resonating with the Youth.

While the mainstream media remains silent about the recent political developments in Tokyo, the more serious press, which serves as a bulletin for the capitalist class internationally, describes a real political earthquake taking place in Japan.

Donald Trump’s latest threat, that North Korea would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Kim Jong-Un’s regime persists in its aggressive rhetoric has sparked a frenzy of fear and speculation in the media over the possibility of this war of words turning into a full-fledged nuclear conflict.

Japanese society is in a deep crisis. After decades of economic stagnation, the political elite is making desperate attempts to revive the economy, at the same time as attempting to whip up anti-Chinese nationalist sentiment to shore up support. Yet, the recent mass movement against the reinterpretation of the so called “pacifist clause” show that the political system is reaching its limits.

The general elections in Japan, held on December 16, 2012, led to the victory of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), amidst the lowest voter turn-out in Japanese history. The ruling Democratic Party (DPJ) lost 173 seats and is now down to only 57. It only got 22.81 percent in the electoral districts around the country, a reduction of about 25 percent compared to the 47.43 percent it won in 2009. The LDP, on the other hand, got only slightly more votes than last time (43.01 percent compared to 38.68 percent) while it increased its number of seats from 176 to 294.

It is the worst disaster for Japan since the war, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This triple whammy of a force-9 earthquake, a tsunami, followed by a nuclear disaster, has shaken the country to its very foundations. And the consequences of this multifaceted catastrophe are widening by the day.

Prime Minister Taro Aso recently dissolved the Japanese parliament, and has called for elections to be held on the 30 August. All signs point to the ruling party, the bourgeois Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), losing power for the first time since 1955 - excluding a 10-month period at the beginning of the 1990s. Right-wing observers are now talking about a ”political revolution” in Japan.

Communism is suddenly back in fashion in Japan. The reason is not hard to find. 'Lifetime employment' is a thing of the past for young workers, whoface a casualised and insecure future. They have already worked out that, as recession bites, they will be first in the firing line. They are drawing political conclusions in increasing numbers.

Japan is the second biggest industrial economy in the world. In the 1980s it experienced a huge speculative bubble, just like the housing bubble that has burst in the USA and is on the point of bursting in Britain now. When the bubble burst, the Japanese people, who up till then were regarded as living in a ‘miracle economy,’ experienced a decade of recession - a ‘lost decade’.

The long post-war economic boom in Japan explained the relative political stability of the country. But since the 1980s things have changed. Now we are seeing its economic decline emerge as political instability, with the masses looking for an alternative to the status quo. The latest developments confirm this.