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Shinzo Abe’s legacy won at the ballot box in Japan

The party of former prime minister Shinzo Abe secured a majority in Japan’s upper house

Fumio Kishida, Japan's Prime Minister and president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), reacts after placing a paper rose on an LDP candidate's name, to indicate a victory in the upper house election.
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  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor

Published

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Abe’s legacy won at the ballot box. The Liberal Democratic Party secured a majority in Japan’s upper house after an election overshadowed by the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe (see more below).

Sri Lankans demanded new leaders. Protestors occupying the homes of the prime minister and president said they won’t leave until the two step down; both said they will resign, but a transition of power is still being hashed out.

Russia bombed more civilians. A missile strike on an apartment building in Donetsk killed at least 15 people as Russia prepares to resume its offensive there. Ukrainian forces, meanwhile, have begun using US-built rockets to destroy targets behind Russian lines.

Musk and Twitter will head to court. Elon Musk’s lawyers said he wanted out of his signed agreement to purchase the social media site for $44 billion, but Twitter’s chair said it would fight to force Musk to close the deal.

Europe is wary of a Nord Stream fix. The primary pipeline bringing natural gas to Europe from Russia will shut down for 10 days of routine maintenance, but German officials and companies fear the spigot will be turned off indefinitely due to conflicts over Ukraine sanctions.

Uber’s sordid history was leaked. Documents given to the Guardian show the rideshare pioneer’s bare knuckle political tactics, secret relationship with French president Emmanuel Macron, and how it duped regulators with a “kill switch.”

Elena Rybakina and Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon. It was Rybakina’s first time winning the women’s tournament, while Djokovic took home his fourth men’s title in a row.

What to watch for

With the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan winning big yesterday, the country is now on the path to revise its constitution, the oldest, unamended document of its kind in the world. It’s a goal long championed by the late former prime minister Abe, and supported by prime minister Fumio Kishida.

But amending the constitution is divisive, and some say it could move Japan away from democracy and towards its Meiji era past. According to an Asahi Shimbun survey, citizens are split on making revisions.

The LDP’s proposal includes recognizing the emperor as head of state and acknowledging the  national defense services, ending the formal pacifism mandated since World War II. Constitutional changes require the LDP and other pro-revision elements to gain a two-thirds majority in the upper house, which they did yesterday.

The magic of movies marketed by meme

Thor: Love and Thunder—directed by the endlessly entertaining Taika Waititi—opened this weekend and raked in $302 million globally. It’s on track to be at least the third-best pandemic opening, after the previous two Marvel titles. (Just don’t read the reviews).

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s express elevator may be sending it to the upper echelon by default, but a good social media meme could blow Thor’s numbers straight to Asgard. Ask Universal Pictures, whose Minions: The Rise of Gru exceeded expectations by breaking July 4th weekend records. How did the sixth (!!) sibling in the Despicable Me franchise become such a powerhouse? It’s absurdly simple—Gen Z began a “GentleMinions” trend of going to showings in suits.

Hollywood will have to harness the power of today’s social media landscape if it wants to market effectively to younger ticket-buyers. And it hasn’t cracked the code yet: Sony attempted to cash in on “It’s Morbin’ time!” by rereleasing its flop Morbius only to see it flop once again.

What is Boris Johnson’s legacy?

UK prime minister Boris Johnson finally resigned last week after more than 50 members of his own government called it quits. But his plan to remain in the post during the leadership transition will make for a divisive, messy summer.

As the contest for leadership of the Conservative party heats up, the latest issue of the Quartz Weekend Brief assesses Johnson’s legacy and details what the UK can do to seek a better leader—and guard against a worse one.

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