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Abe must make upper-house elections count with bold reforms

Japan's leader has little to show for his near-record time in office

| Japan
After nearly seven years Abe has picked only the lowest-hanging fruit. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

Japan's July 21 upper house election is looking to be a rather curious affair.

By any objective yardstick, Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party should take a real drubbing. The economy, which the prime minister promised to revitalize when he took office in 2012, is flagging. Real wages just fell a fifth straight month. The 0.2% drop in May from a year earlier is the latest reminder that Japan Inc. is not fattening paychecks as hoped.

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