Abe, Putin and Xi's Strategies to Extend Their Term

By AsiaToday reporter Kim Ye-jin - Leaders of Japan, Russia, and China are paving the way to extend their tenure.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has changed party rules to extend its term limit for party president to three-year consecutive terms, opening the possibility of his longer reign. However, the move won't guarantee his position until 2021, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Thursday.

Abe, whose current and second term ends in September 2018, could declare his candidacy for the party's next leadership. If he wins election, he would remain LDP president and therefore prime minter for the third consecutive terms.

The biggest challenge for Abe ahead of the presidential election is the next lower house election planned for January. Any resulting victory could solidify Abe's long-term reign.

However, there are few prime ministers who finished their term of office to the end due to Japan's political instability. Even if Abe successfully serves a third term, he should get through the upper house election in 2019, and the sales tax issue in October 2019.

It seems the strategy of Abe, who gained popularity with 'Abenomics', will be putting efforts in reviving Japan's economy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who secured a landslide victory in parliamentary elections last month, will be also focusing on economic recovery ahead of a presidential election due in March 2018. Russia's Far East requested Japan's economic cooperation worth ¥11.7 trillion ahead of the December meeting between Putin and Abe, the Yomiuri Newspaper reported Thursday.

Russia, which is seeking for economic cooperation while holding the issue of Kuril Islands territorial dispute on its hand, is one of the best solutions for Abe to achieve good results ahead of a general election. Abe proposed "new approach" during his talks with Putin in Sochi back in May, putting much efforts into resolving Kuril Islands dispute with Russia.

Having extended the presidential term of office from four to six years, Putin would remain in charge until 2024, if he wins the 2018 presidential election.

Chinese President and CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping paved the way for the extension of his tenure at the 6th Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, which closed on Thursday. It seems that Xi Jinping will strengthen one-party rule structure with his anti-corruption campaign.

As many point out that Xi's anti-corruption drive is carried out only for the establishment of one-party rule system, the drive is in fact a powerful weapon to strengthen Xi's power. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) revised the 'Intra-Party Supervision Regulations' to allow the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) to more effectively supervise party members.