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Commercial Times: Japan, Greece offer example for Taiwan

2014/12/16 11:02:21

In November, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unexpectedly dissolved the lower house of the Japanese parliament in an attempt to seek the people's confirmation of his "Abenomics" economic reforms.

In the Dec. 14 parliamentary election, Abe's coalition succeeded in obtaining the people's mandate for another four-year term by winning over 60 percent of the seats.

The victory will help Abe overcome opposition and continue to move toward his goals.

In financially-troubled Greece, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is taking a similar political gamble at a time when the country's austerity measures are facing tremendous domestic opposition.

Samaras has initiated the procedure for an election of the country's figurehead president this month to restore political stability, hoping to force parliament to stand behind the government and give the ruling party's candidate the majority required in the three-round vote.

A snap election would be called at the end of January if a president is not elected, which would become a referendum on Greece's economic reforms.

Abe and Samaras offer clear examples for Taiwan: Economic reforms are definitely controversial, and government leaders have to take a big gamble. Despite opposition, Abe and Samaras have not retreated but stood behind their reform programs.

With the pace of global economic recovery remaining slow, government leaders in America, Europe, Japan and China are taking positive and dramatic steps to reform their countries' economies, and they are all facing strong backlashes from conservatives and people with vested interests.

There can be no turning back on reforms, and they have to be moved bravely forward. Government leaders need to risk their political lives to achieve ultimate success. (Editorial abstract -- Dec. 16, 2014)

(By Y.F. Low)