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Noah Smith

Is Japan Asia's Next Autocracy?

Japan is considering changes to its constitution that would move it away from liberal democracy and toward autocracy.
Those autocrats sure leave a sour taste.

Those autocrats sure leave a sour taste.

Photographer: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this year, I highlighted a troubling trend in many countries around the world -- the move toward illiberal government and away from human rights. Unfortunately, Japan is catching the bug.

This might seem like a strange claim. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has implemented some liberal policies, such as a push for equality for working women, and he has championed increased immigration. Japan’s society has, in general, become more liberal in recent decades, for example by implementing trial by jury. Furthermore, the country recently repealed a longstanding ban on dancing in clubs.