I had some pretty interesting meetings with government ministers in Japan today. Interesting observations were had.
As goes Australia Mr Abbott is sorely missed by PM Abe and ministers here. Not just for the subs contract falling through but the fact a relationship which had a high level of trust was broken. There is a lot of damage control required and I doubt the PM or Ms Bishop have the Skillset to repair it properly. The bicycle tyre repair kit doesn’t work for long.
On reflection while many Australians tend to only look at the sorry state of our politics on a domestic basis make no mistake the Japanese (and I presume others) now consider “political risk” as on the menu, something which the lack of til now was one of our strongest playing cards in the region. Political risk created out of narcissistic thirst for an office which looks less and less legitimate by the day. I suggested Japan not have much expectation post the double dissolution election.
Of course many will cry Abbott had to be overthrown but the same people will overlook what he’d achieved on the foreign relations front. Expedient one sided reporting and the relentless blood sport that led to Turnbull as PM sadly is something over time we should reflect on. The damage is done and this wound will not heal quickly. Australia bowled itself out with its own googly.
On other fronts my suggestion of flat taxes is not off the table by any means but as such the political negotiation will require a larger majority and delicate handling of tax loopholes. Poland is an intriguing case study. Some politicians have long been proponents of trying to get the 70% of corporations that pay no tax to chip in.
Europe is a concern. Their view is the EU only tightens the vice on its Member States and this is incompatible with the shift to the right. The Japanese think Brexit is unlikely but at the same time the closer the result is to leaving the larger the implications for EU trying to plug holes in the already leaky ship.
Of course should the US become more isolationist they were hoping that Australia would have been a natural country to pursue similar geopolitical interests. This has become trickier.
Be careful what you wish for Australia. Japan may not be so healthy but it is still the 3rd largest economy in the world and its culture is wedded to loyalty and trust. We have single handedly booted it to the kerb.