6

I was reading a political news when I came across this phrase 「一強・安倍政権」 My guess is that this is meant to say the Abe administration is "strong" (has strong support from the people, can withstand many scandals unlike previous governments in recent memory that changed prime minister every year, etc). Also, why in parenthesis 「」?

For context, here is the first paragraph:

東日本大震災の被害を巡り、「東北でよかった」などの失言をした今村復興大臣は26日午前、正式に辞任しました。「一強・安倍政権」への影響は計り知れません。去年の内閣改造以降、閣僚の辞任は初めてで、この間、岩手県の豪雨災害の視察でおんぶされた務台元内閣府政務官や女性問題が発覚した中川前経済産業政務官が相次いで辞任するなど、安倍政権の緩みに歯止めが掛かりません。

source: http://news.tv-asahi.co.jp/news_politics/articles/000099429.html

4

number + 強【きょう】 is a way of saying "top ~", "final ~ (in a tournament)", "Big ~".

  • 4強入りを果たす to become one of the semifinalists
  • 自動車業界の三強【さんきょう】 Big Three in the automotive industry

So 一強 here refers to the fact that 安倍政権 (and 自民党) is nearly unopposed recently.

The brackets are used merely to help people parse this sentence easily and to add an mild emphasis. No sarcasm is intended. Japanese people tend to use brackets very loosely, so you don't have to worry about this too much.

3

Corner brackets (「」) work just like quotation marks in English, as what WP says:

  • Quotation or direct speech: Carol said "Go ahead" when I asked her if the launcher was ready.
  • Mention in another work of a title of a short or subsidiary work, like a chapter or episode: "Encounter at Farpoint" was the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • Scare quotes used to mean "so-called" or to express irony: The "fresh" apples were full of worms.

And the brackets in question mean "so-called" here.

一強 or generally [number] 強 means "the strongest X", "top X", "big X" and such things. I've usually only ever seen 1 to 10 filled in [number] (but there are also examples of 16, 32, 64 for "final X teams" in tournament matches [thanks to @naruto]). In this sense, the expression 一強 might be felt redundant, but its nuance is that there used to be more competitors but only this one is sitting dominant at the current time, in other words, "sole winner".

The interpunct (・) here stands for apposition, so 一強・安倍政権 overall means "Abe regime, (as) the sole winner".

  • 1
    「16強」は比較的よく見る気がします(細かくてごめんなさい) – naruto Apr 29 '17 at 12:14
  • @naruto お~、ほんとだ!11、12、13…と一応検索してみて、なかったので安心してました (^^)ゞ まさかと思い調べたら「32強」「64強」もちらほら用例があるようですね… – broccoli forest Apr 29 '17 at 12:22
2

「東北でよかった」is a normal usage as quotation marks of a conversational phrase. 
On the other hand, 「一強・安倍政権」 is used to emphasize a new born and famous wording.

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