I’ve just seen a wave crash over journalism. Ten days ago I had never heard of Abenomics. The introduction was made by the Economist, a weekly magazine with a reputation for spotting and analyzing economics trends that matter. The May 18-24 edition arrived bearing a cover that likened Japan’s new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to Superman. Inside, the Economist told me this:
He has put Japan on a regime of ‘Abenomics’, a mix of reflation, government spending and a growth strategy designed to jolt the economy out of the suspended animation that has gripped it for more than two decades. He has supercharged Japan’s once-fearsome bureaucracy to make government vigorous again. And, with his own health revived, he has sketched out a programme of geopolitical rebranding and constitutional change that is meant to return Japan to what Mr Abe thinks is its rightful place as a world power.
Mr Abe is electrifying a nation that had lost faith in its political class. Since he was elected, the stockmarket has risen by 55%. Consumer spending pushed up growth in the first quarter to an annualised 3.5%. Mr Abe has an approval rating of over 70% (compared with around 30% at the end of his first term). His Liberal Democratic Party is poised to triumph in elections for the upper house of the Diet in July. With a majority in both chambers he should be able to pass legislation freely.