Bold conservative … Who is the assassinated Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe? | Politics and Economy | In-depth analysis with a broader perspective from DW | DW

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed away on Friday (July 8, 2022) at the age of 67, the longest-serving Japanese prime minister and “perhaps the most polarizing politician in modern Japanese history,” as described by the Associated Press. Press. . Abe sought to pull the Japanese economy out of a chronic recession by adopting a daring policy called “Abenomics”, and sought to improve the capabilities of the military and counteract the growing influence of China.

Abe, who left office in 2020, was shot dead during an election campaign speech on Friday in an attack described by his student and current prime minister Fumio Kishida as “completely unforgivable”. MP Shinzo Abe only became prime minister in 2006 and it took just one year before returning for a rare second term in 2012 when he vowed to revive the stagnant economy, the limitations of the pacifist constitution that followed the Second World War was set up, to relax and restore traditional values.

Abe was instrumental in Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, as he hoped to advance the Olympics to the point of appearing in Mario’s video game avatar during his tenure in Rio, leading the Games. in 2016. In November 2019, Abe became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, but by the summer of 2020, support had waned for him over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a series of scandals, including the arrest of the former justice minister.

Abe resigned in September of the same year without achieving his goal of amending the constitution or presiding over the Olympics, which were postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic. But it remained present and dominant in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and controlled one of its main factions. He was campaigning for Sunday’s Senate election when he was assassinated.

Shinzo Abe killed during campaign speech

daring policy
When Abe first took office in 2006, he was the youngest Japanese prime minister since World War II. After a year plagued by political scandals and voter anger over the loss of pension records and the electoral defeat of his ruling party, Abe resigned due to ill health. “What worries me most now is that the conservative ideals inculcated by the Abe administration will be eroded by my resignation,” Abe later wrote in Bunji Shonjo magazine. “From now on, I want to sacrifice myself as a legislator so that true conservative politics can take root in Japan.” “.

Five years after his resignation, which he blamed on colitis, Abe restored the conservative Liberal Democratic Party to power after he was expelled in 2009. He then launched a three-phase “Abenomics” strategy to counter continued deflation and revive economic growth through monetary policy relief, fiscal spending and structural reform to deal with a shrinking, mostly elderly population.

However, the economic downturn was strong and its growth strategy in 2019 suffered from an increase in sales tax and the Sino-US trade war. The following year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused Japan’s deepest economic recession.

At the beginning of the epidemic, Abe took some time to close Japan’s borders and institute a state of emergency in which people were called to stay home and store owners were encouraged to close. Critics of Abe’s response called his response inappropriate and later said he had no leadership. And when Abe resigned due to the same disease, the mortality rate of COVID-19 in Japan was much lower than that of many other developed countries.

political family
Abe comes from a wealthy political family, his father was a foreign minister and his grandfather was a prime minister. But when it comes to many policies, it seems that his grandfather, the late Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, was more important. Keshi was a wartime cabinet minister and was captured but was never tried as a war criminal after World War II. He served as Prime Minister from 1957 to 1960, resigning due to popular anger over a renegotiated security agreement between the United States and Japan.

Abe, who was five at the time, heard the sounds of clashes between police and left-wing crowds protesting the agreement outside parliament while playing in his grandfather’s arms. Kishi has unsuccessfully tried to revise Japan’s 1947 US draft constitution, make Japan an equal security partner with the United States, and adopt more assertive diplomacy, issues central to Abe’s agenda.

Abe boosted defense spending and reached out to other Asian countries to counter China’s growing influence. He insisted on laws allowing Japan to exercise the right of “collective self-defense”, or to provide military assistance to an ally being attacked. The revision of the pacifist constitution remained a top priority for Abe, a controversial goal because many Japanese see him as responsible for the country’s post-war peace record.

Abe’s primary agenda was to escape what he called the “post-war order,” a legacy of American occupation that, according to conservatives, robbed Japan of its pride. Reforming the education system to restore Japanese traditions was one of its other goals. He also avoided apologizing for Japan’s actions in World War II and said future generations should not continue to apologize for past mistakes.

Dave Linney, a professor of political science at Tokyo’s Waseda University, tells The Associated Press that Abe “has been the most famous political figure in Japan for the past two decades. He wanted Japan to be respected on the world stage as he felt it. deserved it. “

Tough attitude towards North Korea
Abe, who was only elected to parliament in 1993 after his father’s death, gained notoriety when he took a hard line against neighboring North Korea, in a dispute over Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang decades earlier.

Although Abe also tried to improve ties with China and South Korea, where bitter memories of the war persist, he angered both neighbors in 2013 when he visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which Beijing and Seoul see as a symbol of Japan’s militaristic past. In the years that followed, he refrained from visiting the sanctuary himself and instead offered sacrifices.

On the other side of the Pacific, Abe developed close ties with former US President Donald Trump, played golf and had regular phone calls and meetings. He was re-elected as LDP chairman in 2018 for a third consecutive term of three years in 2018 following a change in party rules, and until the outbreak of COVID-19, some members of the party considered another rule change to allow him late to lead him for a fourth term.
MAH / KHS (Reuters, Associated Press)

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