Shinzō Abe (安倍 晋三 Abe Shinzō, IPA: [abe ɕin(d)zoː]; born 21 September 1954) is a Japanese politician serving as the 57th Prime Minister of Japan and Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since 2012, and previously from 2006 to 2007. He is the third-longest serving Prime Minister in post-war Japan. Abe comes from a politically prominent family and was first elected Prime Minister by a special session of the National Diet in September 2006. Then aged 52, he became Japan's youngest post-war prime minister and the first to have been born after World War II. Abe resigned on 12 September 2007 for health reasons. He was replaced by Yasuo Fukuda, the first in a series of five prime ministers who failed to retain office for more than sixteen months.
A portrait photograph released upon inauguration of the Prime Minister as a cabinet (photographed in 2012)
|57th and 63rd Prime Minister of Japan|
26 December 2012
|Preceded by||Yoshihiko Noda|
26 September 2006 – 26 September 2007
|Preceded by||Junichirō Koizumi|
|Succeeded by||Yasuo Fukuda|
|President of the Liberal Democratic Party|
26 September 2012
|Preceded by||Sadakazu Tanigaki|
20 September 2006 – 26 September 2007
|Preceded by||Junichiro Koizumi|
|Succeeded by||Yasuo Fukuda|
|Leader of the Opposition|
26 September 2012 – 26 December 2012
|Prime Minister||Yoshihiko Noda|
|Preceded by||Sadakazu Tanigaki|
|Succeeded by||Banri Kaieda|
|Chief Cabinet Secretary|
31 October 2005 – 26 September 2006
|Prime Minister||Junichiro Koizumi|
|Preceded by||Hiroyuki Hosoda|
|Succeeded by||Yasuhisa Shiozaki|
|Secretary-General of the
Liberal Democratic Party
September 2003 – September 2004
|Preceded by||Taku Yamasaki|
|Succeeded by||Tsutomu Takebe|
|Director-General of the Liberal Democratic Party Youth Division|
|Preceded by||Keiji Furuya|
|Succeeded by||Fumio Kishida|
|Member of the House of Representatives|
19 July 1993
|Constituency||Yamaguchi's at-large district (1993–1996)
Yamaguchi 4th district (1996–present)
|Born||安倍晋三 (Abe Shinzō)
21 September 1954
|Political party||Liberal Democratic|
|Spouse(s)||Akie Matsuzaki (m. 1987)|
|Alma mater||Seikei University
University of Southern California
Abe staged a political comeback, and on 26 September 2012 he defeated former Minister of Defense Shigeru Ishiba for the LDP presidency. Following the LDP's landslide victory in the 2012 general election, he became the first former Prime Minister to return to the office since Shigeru Yoshida in 1948. He was re-elected in the 2014 general election, retaining his two-thirds majority with coalition partner Komeito, and again in the 2017 general election.
Abe is a conservative whom political commentators have widely described as a right-wing nationalist. He is a member of the revisionist Nippon Kaigi and holds revisionist views on Japanese history, including denying the role of government coercion in the recruitment of comfort women during World War II, a position which has created tension with neighboring South Korea. He is considered a hard-liner with respect to North Korea, and advocates revising Article 9 of the pacifist constitution to permit Japan to maintain military forces. Abe is known internationally for his government’s economic policies, nicknamed Abenomics, which pursue monetary easing, fiscal stimulus, and structural reforms.
Early life and educationEdit
Shinzō Abe was born in Tokyo, to a politically prominent family. His family is originally from Yamaguchi Prefecture, and Abe's registered residence ("honseki chi") is Nagato, Yamaguchi, where his grandfather was born. His grandfather, Kan Abe, and father, Shintaro Abe, were both politicians. His great-great-grandfather, the Viscount Yoshimasa Ōshima served as General in the Imperial Japanese Army. Abe's mother, Yoko Kishi, is the daughter of Nobusuke Kishi, prime minister of Japan from 1957 to 1960. Kishi had been a member of the Tōjō Cabinet during the Second World War. Since GHQ's policy changed and became more anti-communist, Kishi was released from Sugamo Prison, and later established the Japan Democratic Party. In his book Utsukushii Kuni e (Toward a Beautiful Country), Abe wrote, "Some people used to point to my grandfather as a 'Class-A war criminal suspect', and I felt strong repulsion. Because of that experience, I may have become emotionally attached to 'conservatism', on the contrary."
In 1955, Shigeru Yoshida's Liberal Party and Kishi's Democratic Party merged as an anti-leftist coalition and was reestablished as the LDP. Abe attended Seikei Elementary School, Seikei Junior High School and Seikei Senior High School. He studied public administration and graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from Seikei University in 1977. He later moved to the United States and studied public policy at the University of Southern California's School of Public Policy for three semesters. In April 1979, Abe began working for Kobe Steel. He left the company in 1982 and pursued a number of government positions including executive assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, private secretary to the chairperson of the LDP General Council, and private secretary to the LDP secretary-general.
Member of the House of Representatives (1993–2006)Edit
Shinzō Abe was elected to the first district of Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1993 after his father's death in 1991, winning the most votes of the four Representatives elected in the SNTV multi-member district. In 1999, he became Director of the Social Affairs Division, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary in the Yoshirō Mori and Junichirō Koizumi Cabinets from 2000–2003, after which he was appointed Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Abe is a member of the Mori Faction (formally, the Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyū-kai) of the Liberal Democratic Party. This faction is headed by former prime minister Yoshirō Mori. Jun'ichirō Koizumi was a member of the Mori Faction prior to leaving it, as is the custom when accepting a high party post. From 1986 to 1991, Abe's father, Shintaro, headed the same faction. The Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyū-kai has 60 members in the House of Representatives and 26 in the House of Councillors.
In 2000, Abe's home and the office of his supporters in Shimonoseki, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, were attacked with molotov cocktails on numerous occasions. The perpetrators were several yakuza members belonging to the Kudo-kai, a Kitakyushu-based designated boryokudan syndicate. The reason for the attacks was believed to be that Abe's local aide refused to give cash to a Shimonoseki real estate broker in return for supporting a Shimonoseki mayoral candidate in 1999.
Abe was chief negotiator for the Japanese government on behalf of the families of Japanese abductees taken to North Korea. As a part of the effort, he accompanied Koizumi to meet Kim Jong‑il in 2002. He gained national popularity when he demanded that Japanese abductees visiting Japan remain, in defiance of North Korea.
He was the leader of a project team within the LDP that did a survey on "excessive sexual education and gender-free education". Among the items to which this team raised objections were anatomical dolls and other curricular materials "not taking into consideration the age of children", school policies banning traditional boys' and girls' festivals, and mixed-gender physical education. The team sought to provide contrast to the Democratic Party of Japan, which it alleged supported such policies.
On 23 April 2006, Abe was elected as the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. His chief competitors for the position were Sadakazu Tanigaki and Tarō Asō. Yasuo Fukuda was a leading early contender but ultimately chose not to run. Former Prime Minister Yoshirō Mori, to whose faction both Abe and Fukuda belonged, stated that the faction strongly leant toward Abe.
First term as Prime Minister (2006–2007)Edit
Abe expressed a general commitment to the fiscal reforms instituted by his predecessor, Jun'ichirō Koizumi. He has taken some steps toward balancing the Japanese budget, such as appointing a tax policy expert, Kōji Omi, as Minister of Finance. Omi has previously supported increases in the national consumption tax, although Abe has distanced himself from this policy and seeks to achieve much of his budget balancing through spending cuts.
Since 1997, as the bureau chief of "Institute of Junior Assembly Members Who Think About the Outlook of Japan and History Education", Abe supported the controversial Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform and the New History Textbook.
In March 2007, Abe along with right-wing politicians have proposed a bill to encourage nationalism and a "love for one's country and hometown" among the Japanese youth (specific wording from the revised "Fundamental Law of Education" 教育基本法, which was revised to include "love of country" despite much criticism).[clarification needed]
Abe held conservative views in the Japanese succession controversy, and shortly after the birth of Prince Hisahito of Akishino he abandoned a proposed legislative amendment to permit women to inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne.
In 2002 negotiations between Japan and North Korea, Prime Minister Koizumi and General Secretary Kim Jong-il agreed to give abductees permission to visit Japan. A few weeks into the visit, the Japanese government decided that the abductees would be restricted from returning to North Korea where their families live. Abe took credit for this policy decision in his best-selling book, Towards a Beautiful Nation (美しい国へ Utsukushii kuni e). North Korea criticized this Japanese decision as a breach of a diplomatic promise, and the negotiations were aborted.
China, Southeast Asia, and TaiwanEdit
Abe has publicly recognized the need for improved relations with the People's Republic of China and, along with Foreign Minister Taro Aso, sought an eventual summit meeting with former Chinese paramount leader Hu Jintao. Abe has also said that China–Japan relations should not continue to be based on emotions.
Occasionally, Abe is respected among politicians in Taiwan who are part of the Pan-Green Coalition seeking Taiwanese independence. Chen Shui-bian welcomed Abe's ministership. Part of Abe's appeal in Taiwan is historical: his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi was pro-Taiwan, and his great-uncle Eisaku Satō was the last prime minister to visit Taiwan while in office.
Abe has expressed the need to strengthen political, security, and economic ties within the Southeast Asian region. Abe has increased its allies in its international campaign to counter the North Korean nuclear cards. So far, Abe has successfully visited the Philippines and Indonesia, and although China is not within the Southeast Asian region, Japan has also sought its support. However, relations with China continue to be tarnished by the Senkaku Islands dispute and Abe's visits to Yasukuni shrine (see below).
Abe, in his two terms as the prime minister of Japan, sought to upgrade the strategic Japan-India relationship. Abe initiated the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Japan, the United States, Australia and India in 2007. His three-day visit to India in August 2007 inaugurated a new bilateral Asian alliance, building on the long history of friendly bilateral relations between India and Japan. Abe's initiative is to establish the "fifth" bilateral link in an emerging scenario, whereby, the U.S.–Australia, U.S.–Japan, Japan–Australia, and U.S.–India links are supportive strategic alignments. A sixth link of the India-Australia would be the logical corollary, formalized as a new quadrilateral of strategic bulwark. The eventual expansion to include Vietnam, South Korea, Philippines and Indonesia, in this arrangement, has been speculated in the media of those states. Chinese strategic experts have labelled the evolving geo-strategic paradigm, the "Asian NATO". Abe's pragmatic India foreign policy, is to boost Japan's resurgent economic indicators, while gaining a crucial partner in Asia. India, unlike most major Far-Eastern and ASEAN states, does not have a history of serious military dispute with Japan.
Abe also sought to revise or broaden the interpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution in order to permit Japan to maintain de jure military forces. He had stated that "we are reaching the limit in narrowing down differences between Japan's security and the interpretation of our constitution". During his first period as prime minister he upgraded the Japan Defense Agency to full ministry status. Like his predecessors, he supported the Japanese alliance with the United States.
Unpopularity and sudden resignationEdit
Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party suffered great losses in the upper house election, marking the first time it had lost control in 52 years. Another agricultural minister, Norihiko Akagi, who was involved in a political funding scandal, resigned after the election.
In an attempt to revive his administration, Abe announced a new cabinet on 27 August 2007. However, the new agricultural minister Takehiko Endo, involved in a finance scandal, resigned only seven days later.
On 12 September 2007, only three days after a new parliamentary session had begun, Abe announced his intention to resign his position as prime minister at an unscheduled press conference. Abe said his unpopularity was hindering the passage of an anti-terrorism law, involving among other things Japan's continued military presence in Afghanistan. Party officials also said the embattled prime minister was suffering from poor health. On 26 September 2007 Abe officially ended his term as Yasuo Fukuda became the new prime minister of Japan.
Abe later revealed that the illness that contributed to ending his first term as Prime Minister was ulcerative colitis, but that he has since recovered due to access to a drug, Asacol, that was previously unavailable in Japan. When he returned to office he used his own case to argue for lessening the time it takes to approve potentially innovative drugs. After resigning as Prime Minister, Abe remained in the National Diet and was re-elected in his Yamaguchi 4th district at the 2009 election when the LDP lost power to the Democratic Party of Japan.
On 26 September 2012, Abe was re-elected as president of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party defeating former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba in a runoff vote by 108 votes to 89. Abe returned to the LDP leadership at a time of political turmoil, the governing DPJ had lost its majority in the lower house due to party splits over nuclear policies and the cabinet's move to raise the consumption tax from 5 to 10 percent. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was forced to rely on the LDP to pass the Consumption Tax bill and in return was pressured by Abe and the opposition parties to hold a snap general election. Noda agreed to this on the conditions that the LDP passed a bond-financing bill, and would support a commission to reform the social security system and address electoral malapportionment in the next diet session.
2012 general electionEdit
On 16 November 2012, Prime Minister Noda announced the dissolution of the lower house and that the general election would be held on 16 December. Abe campaigned using the slogan "Nippon o Torimodosu" ("Take back Japan"), promising economic revival through monetary easing, higher public spending and the continued use of nuclear energy, and a tough line in territorial disputes.
In the elections on 16 December 2012, the LDP won 294 seats in the 480 seat House of Representatives. Together with the New Komeito Party (which has partnered with the LDP since the late 1990s), Abe was able to form a coalition government that controlled a two thirds majority in the lower house, allowing it to override the upper house's veto.
Second term as Prime Minister (2012–2014)Edit
On 26 December 2012, Abe was formally elected as Prime Minister by the Diet, with the support of 328 out of 480 members of the House of Representatives, he and his second cabinet, which he called a "crisis-busting cabinet", were sworn in later that day. The new government included LDP heavyweights such as former Prime Minister Tarō Asō as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Yoshihide Suga as Chief Cabinet Secretary and Akira Amari as Economy Minister. Following his victory, Abe said, "With the strength of my entire cabinet, I will implement bold monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy and a growth strategy that encourages private investment, and with these three policy pillars, achieve results."
In February 2013 Abe gave an address at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. in which he explained his economic and diplomatic objectives, and that he had returned to the Prime Ministership to prevent Japan becoming a "Tier Two Nation", declaring that "Japan is back".
Economic policy (Abenomics)Edit
The Second Abe cabinet revived the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP) that had played a key role in formulating economic policy during the Koizumi cabinet, but had been abandoned by the 2009–12 DPJ administrations.
Abe declared in his January 2013 policy speech to the Diet that economic revival and escaping deflation was "the greatest and urgent issue" facing Japan. His economic strategy, referred to as Abenomics, consists of the so-called "three arrows" (an allusion to an old Japanese story) of policy. The first arrow is monetary expansion aimed at achieving a 2% inflation target, the second a flexible fiscal policy to act as an economic stimulus in the short term, then achieve a budget surplus and the third, a growth strategy focusing on structural reform and private sector investment to achieve long-term growth.
"First Arrow": Monetary policyEdit
At the first meeting of the CEFP on 9 January 2013 Abe declared that the Bank of Japan should follow a policy of monetary easing with a view to achieving a target of 2 percent inflation. Abe maintained pressure on the Bank's governor, Masaaki Shirakawa, who was reluctant to set specific targets, into agreeing to the policy. In February, after Abe publicly speculated that the government could legislate to strip the bank of independence, Shirakawa announced he was leaving office prematurely before his term expired. Abe then appointed Haruhiko Kuroda as governor, who had previously advocated inflation targets, and who has pursued the government's policies of monetary easing.
After the first meeting of the Bank's monetary policy committee after he had taken office in April, Kuroda announced an aggressive programme of easing intended to double the money supply and achieve the 2 percent inflation target at "the earliest possible time". Over the first six months of the second Abe Cabinet, the Yen fell from a high of ¥77 to the dollar to ¥101.8, and the Nikkei 225 rose by 70 percent.
In a surprise move in October 2014, Kuroda announced that the BOJ would boost the monetary easing programme and accelerate asset purchases, the monetary policy committee split by 5 votes to 4 but supported the policy. This was interpreted as a response to disappointing economic figures in the aftermath of the increase in the consumption tax to 8 percent, inflation having fallen to 1 percent from its peak of 1.5 percent in April.
"Second Arrow": Fiscal policyEdit
The Abe Cabinet's first budget included a 10.3 trillion yen stimulus package, composed of public works spending, aid for small businesses and investment incentives, that aimed to increase growth by 2 percent. The budget also increased defense spending and manpower while reducing foreign aid.
In Autumn 2013 Abe made the decision to proceed with the first stage of the increase in the consumption tax from 5 to 8 percent in April 2014 (with a second stage envisaged raising it to 10 percent in October 2015). The bill to raise the tax had been passed under the previous DPJ government, but the final decision lay with the Prime Minister. He and Finance Minister Tarō Asō explained that the tax would be increased to provide a "sustainable" basis for future social spending, and to avoid the need to finance future stimulus by issuing government bonds. While this was expected to affect economic growth in the quarter following the rise, Abe also announced a 5 trillion yen stimulus package that aimed to mitigate any effects on economic revival. After the increase in April, Japan fell into recession during the second and third quarters of 2014, leading to Abe delaying the second stage of the tax rise until April 2017 and calling a snap election (see below). In response to the recession, Aso announced that the government would ask the Diet to pass a supplementary budget to fund a further stimulus package worth 2–3 trillion yen.
There has been some division within the Abe cabinet between "fiscal hawks", such as Finance Minister Aso, who favour fiscal consolidation through spending cuts and tax increases, and reflationists, such as Abe himself, who argue in favour of a "growth first" policy that prioritises economic expansion and recovery over budget considerations using the slogan "no fiscal health without economic revitalization". Abe's decision to delay the consumption tax increase in November 2014 and his push for a large fiscal deficit in the 2015 budget without social security cuts was interpreted as a victory for this faction within the LDP. The government did however, commit to a primary surplus by 2020, and pledged to review its strategy in 2018 if the primary deficit had not fallen to 1 percent of GDP by that time.
"Third Arrow": Growth strategy and structural reformEdit
On 15 March 2013 Abe announced that Japan was entering negotiations to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this was interpreted by analysts as a means through which the government can enact reforms to liberalise certain sectors of the Japanese economy, most notably agriculture, and was criticised by farm lobbies and some sections of the LDP. Economist Yoshizaki Tatsuhiko described the TPP as having the potential to act as the "linchpin of Abe’s economic revitalization strategy" by making Japan more competitive through free trade. In February 2015 the Abe government struck a deal to limit the power of the JA-Zenchu body to supervise and audit Japan's agricultural co-operatives, in a move designed to facilitate TPP negotiations, improve the competitiveness of Japan's farming sector and curtail the influence of the agriculture lobby.
Abe revealed the first measures related to the "third arrow" policies in June 2013, which included plans to establish deregulated economic zones and allow the sale of drugs online, but did not include substantial measures related to labour market or business reform. These measures were less well received than the first two arrows had been since Abe took office, with the stock market falling slightly and critics arguing that they lacked detail, The Economist, for example judged the announcement a "misfire". Analysts did note, however, that Abe was waiting until after the July Upper House elections to reveal further details, to avoid an adverse reaction by voters to potentially unpopular reforms. At the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2014 Abe announced that he was ready to act as a "drill bit" to break through the rock of vested interests and "red tape" to achieve structural reforms of the economy. He cited reforms of agriculture, energy and health sectors as evidence of this, and pledged to push forward with the TPP, a Japan-EU trade deal and tax, corporate governance and planning reforms.
Abe announced a package of structural reforms in June 2014, that the Economist described as "less a single arrow than a 1,000-strong bundle" and compared favourably to the 2013 announcement. These new measures included corporate governance reform, the easing of restrictions on hiring foreign staff in special economic zones, liberalising the health sector and measures to help foreign and local entrepreneurs. The plans also included a cut in corporation tax to below 30 percent, an expansion of childcare to encourage women to join the workforce, and the loosening of restrictions on overtime. In December 2015, the government announced corporation tax would be reduced to 29.97 percent in 2016, bringing the cut forward one year ahead of schedule.
In September 2013 Abe called for a "society in which all women can shine", setting a target that 30 percent of leadership positions should be held by women by 2020. Abe cited the "womenomics" ideas of Kathy Matsui that greater participation by women in the workforce, which is relatively low in Japan, especially in leadership roles, could improve Japan's GDP and potentially fertility rates, in spite of declining population figures. The Abe cabinet has introduced measures to expand childcare and legislation to force public and private organisations to publish data on the number of women they employ, and what positions they hold.
In November 2013 the Abe cabinet passed a bill to liberalise Japan's electricity market by abolishing price controls, breaking up regional monopolies, separating power transmission from generation by creating a national grid company. This move was partly in response to the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and the bill faced little opposition in the Diet. By March 2015, more than 500 companies had applied to the Economy Ministry to enter the electricity retail market and electricity industry is expected to be fully liberalised by 2016, with gas utilities following suit by 2017. Abe has also said he favours the re-building of Japan's nuclear reactors following the Fukushima disaster (though much of the authority to restart nuclear plants lies with local governments) and plans to strengthen relations with the United States.
In 2013 the Eurekahedge Japan Hedge Fund Index posted a record 28 percent return, which was credited to the unprecedented actions of the Abe government. In July 2015 the IMF reported that, while the structural reforms had "modestly" improved growth prospects, "further high-impact structural reforms are needed to lift growth" and prevent over-reliance on yen depreciation.
2013 Upper House electionEdit
When Abe returned to office, although neither party had controlled the House of Councillors (the upper house of the Diet) since the 2007 election, the opposition DPJ was the largest party. The governing coalition enjoyed a two thirds majority in the lower house that allowed it to override the upper house's veto, but this requires a delay of 90 days. This situation, known as the "Twisted Diet", had contributed to political gridlock and the "revolving door" of Prime Ministers since 2007. Abe's campaign for the 2013 election focused on themes of economic revival, asking voters to give him a stable mandate in both houses to pursue reforms, and took a more moderate tone on defense and constitutional matters.
In the July 2013 upper house election, the LDP emerged as the largest party with 115 seats (a gain of 31) and the Komeito with 20 (a gain of 1), giving Abe's coalition control of both houses of the Diet, but not the two thirds majority in the upper house that would allow for constitutional revision. With no national elections due until 2016, this result was described as giving Abe the opportunity of "three golden years" of parliamentary stability in which to implement his policies.
Abe's return to the Prime Ministership saw a renewed attempt to downplay Japan's wartime atrocities in school textbooks, an issue that had contributed to his earlier downfall. In 2013 Abe supported the creation of the Super Global Universities program. This is a ten-year program to increase international student attendance in Japanese universities and hire more foreign faculty. There is also funding for selected universities to create English-only undergraduate programs.
In 2014 Abe allocated millions of dollars of the fiscal budget to help programs that help single individuals of Japan find potential mates. These programs entitled "Marriage support programs" were started in hopes of raising Japan's declining birthrate which was half of what it was six decades prior.
Shortly after taking office Abe signalled a "drastic reshaping" of foreign policy, and promised to pursue diplomacy with a global, rather than a regional or bilateral outlook based on "the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law". His choice of Fumio Kishida as foreign minister was interpreted as a sign that he would pursue a more moderate line compared to his hawkish stance in the run up the general election.
Within weeks of returning to power, the Second Abe cabinet faced the In Amenas hostage crisis of 2013 in which 10 Japanese citizens were killed. Abe condemned the killings as "absolutely unforgivable" and confirmed that Japan and Britain had co-operated over the incident. Abe believed that this incident demonstrated the need for the creation of a Japanese National Security Council (see below), and convened a panel to consider its creation soon after the crisis.
Abe was unusually active in the field of foreign affairs for a Japanese Prime Minister, making visits to 49 countries between December 2012 and September 2014, a number that was described as "unprecedented" (by contrast, his immediate two predecessors Naoto Kan and Yoshihiko Noda visited a combined total of 18 countries between June 2010 and December 2012). This was interpreted as a means to offset poor relations with China and Korea by increasing Japan's profile on the world stage and improving bilateral ties with other countries in the region. South East Asian nations, Australia and India have been significant and frequent destinations for Abe, who visited all 10 ASEAN countries in his first year in office. The diplomatic tours also functioned as another element of Abenomics by promoting Japan to the international business community and opening up avenues for trade, energy and defence procurement deals (for example, business executives often travel with Abe on these visits).
In September 2013, Abe intervened to aid Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games, giving a speech in English at the IOC session in Buenos Aires, in which he extolled the role of sport in Japan and sought to reassure the committee that any ongoing issues with the Fukushima plant were under control. After the bid was successful, Abe sought to portray the games as symbolic of his Abenomics economic revitalization programme, saying "I want to make the Olympics a trigger for sweeping away 15 years of deflation and economic decline". In 2014 he said that he hoped a "robot olympics" would be held at the same time, to promote the robotics industry.
Abe's foreign policy has moved Japan away from its traditional focus on the "big three" bilateral relationships with the United States, China, and South Korea, and has sought to increase Japan's international profile by expanding ties with NATO, the EU, and other organisations beyond the Asia-Pacific region. In 2014, Abe and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to establish a "2 + 2 framework" of annual consultations between the British and Japanese foreign and defense ministries, with Abe calling for greater co-operation on issues "from peace of the seas to the security of the skies, space and cyberspace". This followed a similar agreement with French ministers in Tokyo earlier in the year.
Abe concluded the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement with Australia's Abbott Government in 2014, and addressed a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament in July. In heralding the agreement, he also offered condolences for the suffering of Australians during World War Two – singling out the Kokoda Track campaign and Sandakan Death Marches. He was the first Japanese PM to address the Australian parliament.
In January 2014, Abe became the first Japanese leader to attend India's Republic Day Parade in Delhi as chief guest, during a three-day visit where he and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to increase co-operation over economic, defence and security issues and signed trade agreements related to energy, tourism and telecoms. A close relationship was anticipated between Abe and Narendra Modi after the latter's election as Prime Minister of India in May 2014, when it was noted that they had established ties from at least seven years previously when Modi was still Chief Minister of Gujarat and that Modi was one of three people Abe "followed" on Twitter. The two men exchanged congratulatory messages after the election. Modi made his first major foreign visit to Japan in autumn of 2014, where he and Abe discussed agreements on nuclear co-operation, rare earth elements and joint maritime exercises. During the visit Abe invited Modi to become the first Indian leader to stay at the Imperial State Guest House in Kyoto.
On 30 May 2014, Abe told officials from the ASEAN countries, the United States and Australia, that Japan wanted to play a major role in maintaining regional security, a departure from the passiveness it has displayed since World War II. He offered Japan's support to other countries in resolving territorial disputes.
Relations between Japan and its immediate neighbours, China and South Korea, remained poor after Abe's return to office. While he declared that the "doors are always open on my side", no bilateral meetings between Abe and the Chinese leadership took place for the first 23 months of his second term. Neither did Abe hold any meetings with President Park Geun-hye of Korea during his 2012–14 term of office. Both countries criticised Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine in December 2013, with China's Foreign Minister describing the action as moving Japan in an "extremely dangerous" direction. In addition, China has continued to criticise Abe's defense reform policies, warning that Japan should not abandon its post-war policy of pacifism. Abe's speech at the World Economic Forum in 2014 was interpreted as a criticism of Chinese foreign and defense policy when he said that "the dividends of growth in Asia must not be wasted on military expansion" and called for greater preservation of the freedom of the seas under the rule of law, although he did not specifically refer to any one country during his remarks.
In November 2014, Abe met China's President Xi Jinping at the APEC meeting in Beijing for the first time since either had taken office, after a photocall that was described as "awkward" by the press. Abe later told reporters that during the meeting he suggested establishing a hotline between Tokyo and Beijing to help resolve any maritime clashes, and that the "first step" had been taken to improve relations.
Defense and security policyEdit
Abe has attempted to centralize security policy in the Prime Minister's office by creating the Japanese National Security Council to better coordinate national security policy, and by ordering the first National Security Strategy in Japan's history. Based on the American body of the same name, the law to create the NSC was passed in November 2013 and began operating the following month when Abe appointed Shotaro Yachi as Japan's first National Security Advisor.
In December 2013, Abe announced a five-year plan of military expansion. He described this as "proactive pacificism", with the goal of making Japan a more "normal" country, able to defend itself. This was in reaction to a Chinese buildup and a decreased American influence in the region.
In the same month the Diet passed the Abe cabinet's State Secrecy Law, which took effect in December 2014. The law expanded the scope for the government to designate what information constitutes a state secret and increased penalties for bureaucurats and journalists who leak such information to up to 10 years in prison and a 10 million yen fine. The passage of the law proved controversial, with thousands protesting the bill in Tokyo and the cabinet's approval rating falling below 50 percent for the first time in some polls. Detractors argued that the law was ambiguous and therefore gave the government too much freedom to decide which information to classify, that it could curtail freedom of the press, and that the cabinet had rushed the legislation without including any corresponding freedom of information guarantees. Abe argued that the law was necessary and applied only in cases of national security, diplomacy, public safety and counter-terrorism, saying, "If the law prevents films from being made, or weakens freedom of the press, I'll resign". However he did concede that, in retrospect, the government should have explained the details of the bill more carefully to the public.
In July 2014 the Abe cabinet took the decision to re-interpret Japan's constitution to allow for the right of "Collective Self-Defense". This would allow the Self Defense Forces to come to the aid of, and defend, an ally under attack, whereas the previous interpretation of the constitution was strictly pacifist and allowed for force to be used only in absolute self-defense. The decision was supported by the United States, which has argued for greater scope for action by Japan as a regional ally, and led to a revision of the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation guidelines in 2015. In response the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the decision "raised doubts" about Japan's commitment to peace, and argued that the Japanese public is opposed to the concept of collective self-defense. Abe argued that the move would not lead to Japan becoming involved in "foreign wars" such as the Gulf or Iraq war, but instead would secure peace through deterrence. This led to the introduction of the 2015 security legislation to give legal effect to the cabinet's decision (see below).
2014 cabinet reshuffleEdit
The cabinet inaugurated in December 2012 was the longest serving and most stable in post-war Japanese history, lasting 617 days without a change in personnel until Abe conducted a reshuffle in September 2014, with the stated aim of promoting more women into ministerial posts. The reshuffled cabinet tied the record of 5 women ministers set by the first Koizumi cabinet. Most key figures, such as Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, were kept in post although Abe moved Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki out of cabinet to become Secretary General of the LDP. However, on 20 October two of the women promoted in the reshuffe, Justice Minister Midori Matsushima and Trade Minister Yūko Obuchi, were forced to resign in separate election finance scandals. Abe told the press, "As prime minister, I bear full responsibility for having appointed them, and I apologize deeply to the people of Japan."
2014 general electionEdit
In November 2014, while Abe was attending the APEC forum meeting in China and the G20 Summit in Australia, rumours began appearing in the press that he was planning to call a snap election in the event that he decided to delay the second stage of the consumption tax increase. It was speculated that Abe planned to do this to "reset" Diet business after it had become gridlocked due to the fallout from ministerial resignations in October, or because the political situation would be less favourable to re-election in 2015 and 2016.
On 17 November GDP figures were released that showed Japan had fallen into recession, the two quarters of negative growth following the first stage in the consumption tax rise in April. Abe held a press conference on 21 November and announced that he was delaying the rise in the consumption tax by 18 months, from October 2015 to April 2017, and calling a snap general election for 14 December. Abe described the election as the "Abenomics Dissolution" and asked the voters to pass judgement on his economic policies. Abe's popularity fell slightly with the announcement and he declared that he would resign if his coalition did not win a simple majority, though analysts agreed this was highly unlikely due to the weak state of the opposition. The opposition parties attempted to field a united front in opposition to Abe's policies, but found themselves divided on them.
In the elections, the LDP won 291 seats, a loss of 3, but the Komeito gained 4 to win 35. Therefore, the governing coalition maintained its two thirds majority in a slightly-reduced lower house of 475.
Third term as Prime Minister (2014–2017)Edit
On 24 December 2014 Abe was re-elected to the position of Prime Minister by the House of Representatives. The only change he made when introducing his third cabinet was replacing defense minister Akinori Eto, who was also involved in a political funding controversy, with Gen Nakatani. In his February policy speech, as the Cabinet weathered a Moritomo Gakuen school scandal, Abe called upon the new Diet to enact “most drastic reforms since the end of World War II” in the areas of the economy, agriculture, healthcare and other sectors.
On a tour of the Middle East in January 2015, Abe announced that Japan would provide 200 million dollars in non-military assistance to countries fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as part of a 2.5 billion dollar aid package. Shortly after this, ISIL released a video in which a masked figure (identified as Mohammed Emwazi or "Jihadi John") threatened to kill two Japanese hostages, Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, in retaliation for the move unless Abe's government paid 200 million dollars of ransom money. Abe cut short his trip to deal with the crisis, declared that such acts of terrorism were "unforgivable" and promised to save the hostages, while refusing to pay the ransom. The Abe cabinet worked with the Jordanian government to attempt to secure the release of both hostages, after further videos were released by ISIL linking their fate to that of pilot Muath Al-Kasasbeh, with deputy foreign minister Yasuhide Nakayama conducting negotiations in Amman. Both hostages were killed, ISIL releasing news of Yukawa's death on 24 January and Goto's on 31 January. Abe condemned the killings as a "heinous act", declared that Japan would "not give in to terrorism" and pledged to work with the international community to bring the killers to justice. There was some criticism of Abe for his move to pledge aid against ISIL while they were holding Japanese citizens hostage, but polls showed support for his administration increasing in the aftermath of the crisis. He later used the example of the hostage crisis to argue the case for the collective self-defense legislation that his government introduced in the summer of 2015 (see below).
In April 2015, he addressed a joint sitting of the U.S. Congress, the first Japanese prime minister to do so. In his speech he referred to the Japan-US Alliance as the "Alliance of Hope", promised that Japan would play a more active security and defence role in the alliance and argued that the TPP would bring both economic and security benefits to the Asia-Pacific region. The address served as part of a state visit to the United States, the eighth of the Obama Presidency, which the president referred to as a "celebration of the ties of friendship" between America and Japan. During the visit, Abe attended a state dinner at the White House.
Like his predecessors Tomiichi Murayama and Junichiro Koizumi, Abe issued a statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on 14 August 2015. This statement had been widely anticipated, with some commentators expecting Abe to amend or even refuse to repeat the previous leaders' apologies for Japan's role in the war. In the statement, Abe committed to uphold the previous apologies and expressed "profound grief and eternal, sincere condolences" for the "immeasurable damage and suffering" Japan had caused for "innocent people" during the conflict. He also argued that Japan should not be "predestined to apologise" forever, noting that more than eighty percent of Japanese people alive today were born after the conflict and played no part in it. The governments of both China and South Korea responded with criticism of the statement, but analysts noted that it was muted and restrained in tone, in comparison to the harsher rhetoric that has been used previously. A representative of the US National Security Council welcomed the statement, and referred to Japan as having been a "model for nations everywhere" in its record on "peace, democracy, and the rule of law" since the war's end. Professor Gerald Curtis of Colombia University argued that the statement "probably satisfies no constituency" either in Japan or abroad, but that by repeating the words "aggression", "colonialism", "apology" and "remorse" used in the Murayama Statement of 1995, it was likely to be enough to improve relations with China and Korea.
In December 2015, Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed deals in which India agreed to buy Shinkansen technology from Japan (financed in part by a loan from the Japanese government), and for Japan to be raised to full partner status in the Malabar naval exercises. Also agreed at the talks was a proposal for Japan to sell non-military nuclear technology to India, to be formally signed once technical details were finalised. Demonstrating their close relationship, Abe described Modi's policies as "like Shinkansen - high speed, safe and reliable while carrying many people along". In return, Modi complimented Abe as a "phenomenal leader", noted how India-Japan relations had a "wonderful human touch" and invited him to attend the Ganga aarti ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat in his Varanasi constituency. Analysts described the nuclear deal as part of Japan and India's efforts to respond to growing Chinese power in the Asia-Pacific region.
In Seoul in November 2015, Abe attended the first China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit held for three years with Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The summits had been suspended in 2012 due to tensions over historical and territorial issues. The leaders agreed to restore the summits as annual events, negotiate a trilateral free trade agreement and work to check North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, and announced that trilateral co-operation had been "completely restored".
Japan's relations with South Korea have improved somewhat during Abe's third term, in the aftermath of Abe's war anniversary statement. Abe and Korea's President Park Geun-hye held their first bilateral meeting in November 2015, where they both agreed to resolve the issue of so-called "Comfort women" which Park described as the biggest obstacle to closer ties. In late December 2015, foreign ministers Fumio Kishida and Yun Byung-se announced in Seoul that a deal had been reached to resolve the "comfort women" issue, in which Japan agreed to pay 1 billion yen into a fund to support the 46 surviving victims, and issued a statement that contained Abe's "most sincere apologies and remorse". Abe later telephoned Park to issue the apology. In return, the South Korean government agreed to consider the matter "finally and irreversibly resolved" and work to remove a statue from in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul. Both sides agreed to refrain from criticising each other over the issue in the future. President Park stated that the agreement would be a "new starting point" for relations between the two countries, although both leaders received some domestic criticism: Abe for issuing the apology, Park for accepting the deal.
Shortly after Donald Trump had won the US presidential election, Abe cut his precense at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima short, in order to have an informal, impromptu meeting with the then President-elect, at the Trump Tower. After Trump's inauguration, they had a formal meeting at Mar-a-Lago, discussed security, in light of a North Korean threat, with Abe stating that Japan will be more committed to Japan–United States relations. They also golfed alongside South African professional golfer Ernie Els 
Security and defense issuesEdit
In his April speech to Congress, Abe announced that his government would "enact all necessary bills by this coming summer" to expand the Self-Defense Forces' capacity for operations and to give effect to the cabinet's July 2014 decision to re-interpret the constitution in favour of collective self-defense. Therefore, the Abe cabinet introduced 11 bills making up the "Peace and Security Preservation Legislation" into the Diet in May 2015, which pushed for a limited expansion of military powers to fight in foreign conflict. The principal aims of the bills were to allow Japan's Self-Defense Forces to come to the aid of allied nations under attack (even if Japan itself was not), to expand their scope to support international peacekeeping operations, and to allow for Japan to take on a greater share of security responsibilities as part of the US-Japan Alliance.
In order to allow for enough time to pass the bills in the face of lengthy opposition scrutiny, the Abe cabinet extended the Diet session by 95 days from June into September, making it the longest in the post-war era. The bills passed the House of Representatives on 16 July with the support of the majority LDP-Komeito coalition. Diet members from opposition Democratic, Innovation, Communist and Social Democratic parties walked out of the vote in protest at what they said was the government's move to force the bills through without sufficient debate and ignore "responsible opposition parties". Abe countered by arguing that the bills had been debated for "as many as 113 hours" before the vote. While common practice in many other parliamentary democracies, a government using its majority to "railroad" controversial bills though the Diet in the face of political and public opposition is a subject of criticism in Japan.
As a result of these moves, Abe faced a public backlash, and opinion polls showed that his approval ratings fell into negative figures for the first time since he returned to power in 2012, with 50 percent disapproving and 38 percent approving of the cabinet according to one Nikkei survey at the beginning of August. Many protested the legislation outside the Diet buildings, denouncing what were referred to as "war bills" by opponents. Organisers of the protests estimated that up to 100,000 protesters marched against the bills' passage of the lower house in July. During Diet committee hearings on the bills, constitutional scholars (some of whom had been invited by the ruling parties) and a former supreme court justice argued that the legislation was unconstitutional. Abe was publicly criticised by atomic bomb survivor Sumiteru Taniguchi in his speech at the Nagasaki memorial ceremony on 9 August, when he stated that the defense reforms would take Japan "back to the wartime period". Members of the Abe cabinet said that they would make a greater effort to explain the contents of and the reasons for the security legislation to the public, with the LDP releasing an animated cartoon commercial, and Abe appearing live on television and internet chat streams to make the case for the legislation and take questions from members of the public.
The security bills were finally approved 148 votes to 90 by the House of Councillors and became law on 19 September, following opposition attempts at delaying tactics and physical altercations in which some Diet members attempted to stop the relevant chairman calling the vote to move the bill out of committee and to a general vote. After the vote, Abe issued a statement saying that the new laws "will fortify our pledge to never again wage war", and that the legislation, rather than being "war bills", was instead "aimed at deterring war and contributing to peace and security". He also pledged to continue to explain the legislation to try to gain "greater understanding" from the public on the issue. Following the bills' passage, Abe was expected to once again return his focus to economic issues.
On 18 October 2015 Abe presided over the triennial fleet review of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Self-Defense Forces. In his speech to personnel on board the destroyer Kurama he announced that “by highly hoisting the flag of ‘proactive pacifism,’ I’m determined to contribute more than ever to world peace and prosperity”. Later that day he went aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, becoming the first Japanese Prime Minister to set foot on an American warship.
In December 2015 the Abe government announced the creation of a new intelligence unit to aid counter-terrorism operations, to be based in the Foreign Ministry but led by the Prime Minister's Office. This was reported as being part of efforts to step up security measures in preparation for the 2016 G7 Summit in Shima, Mie and 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. In the same month the cabinet approved Japan's largest ever defense budget, at 5.1 trillion yen, for the fiscal year beginning in April 2016. The package included funding intended for the purchase of three "Global Hawk" drones, six F-35 fighter jets and a Boeing KC-46A midair refueling aircraft.
Re-election as LDP President and "Abenomics 2.0"Edit
In September 2015 Abe was re-elected as president of the LDP in an uncontested election after LDP Diet member Seiko Noda failed to garner enough support to stand as a candidate. Following this Abe carried out a cabinet reshuffle, once again keeping the key ministers of Finance, Economy, Foreign Affairs and the Chief Cabinet Secretary in post. He also created a new ministerial position for the co-ordination of policies related to the economy, population decline, and social security reform, which was filled by Katsunobu Katō.
At a press conference after his official re-election as LDP President, Abe announced that the next stage of his administration would focus on what he called "Abenomics 2.0", the aim of which was to tackle issues of low fertility and an aging population and create a society "in which each and every one of Japan’s 100 million citizens can take on active roles". This new policy consisted of targets which Abe referred to as "three new arrows"; to boost Japan's GDP to 600 trillion yen by 2021, to raise the national fertility rate from an average of 1.4 to 1.8 children per woman and stabilise the population at 100 million, and to create a situation where people would not have to leave employment in order to care for elderly relatives by the mid 2020s. Abe explained that the government would take measures to increase wages, boost consumption, and expand childcare, social security and care services for the elderly to meet these goals.
This new iteration of Abenomics was met with some criticism by commentators, who argued that it was not yet clear if the first three arrows had succeeded in lifting Japan out of deflation (inflation was some way below the 2 percent target), that the new arrows were merely presented as targets without the necessary policies to meet them, and that the targets themselves were unrealistic. However, opinion polls during the final months of 2015 showed the Abe cabinet's approval ratings once again climbing into positive figures after the change in emphasis back to economic issues.
At the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks in early October 2015, Abe hailed the agreement for creating an "unprecedented economic zone" and opening up possibilities for an even wider Asia-Pacific free trade deal and Japanese trade with Europe. He also promised to mitigate any negative effects on the Japanese agricultural sector. GDP figures released in November 2015 initially appeared to show that Japan had entered a second recession since the implementation of Abenomics, however these figures were subsequently revised to show that the economy had grown by 1 percent in the third quarter, thus avoiding recession.
In December 2015 the two parties making up Abe's governing coalition agreed to introduce a reduced rate of consumption tax for food when the anticipated tax increase from 8 to 10 percent takes place in April 2017. This deal was reached after Abe was seen to come down strongly in favour of the position held by his junior coalition partner the Komeito, that the tax rate should be reduced, which prompted some disagreement from members of his own party, who favoured a policy of greater fiscal consolidation through taxes. Abe dismissed the chairman of the LDP's tax panel Takeshi Noda (who opposed the reduction), and appointed Yoichi Miyazawa, who was more favourable to the policy, as his replacement. Abe declared the tax deal to be "the best possible result" of the negotiations.
At the 2016 election to the House of Councillors, the first that allowed Japanese citizens 18 and over to vote, Abe led the LDP–Komeito pact to victory, with the coalition being the largest in the House of Councillors, since it was set at 242 seats. The election's results opened the debate on constitutional reform, particularly in amending Article 9 of Japan's pacifist constitution, with pro-revisionist parties gaining the two-thirds majority being necessary for reform, alongside a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives, which would ultimately lead to a nationwide referendum. Abe remained relatively quiet on the issue for the remainder of the year, but in May 2017, announced that the constitutional reform would be in effect by 2020.
Fourth term as Prime Minister (2017–present)Edit
The 2017 general election was held on 22 October. Prime Minister Abe called the snap election on 25 September, while the North Korea crisis was prominent in the news media. Political opponents of Abe say the snap election was designed to evade questioning in parliament over alleged scandals. Abe was expected to retain a majority of seats in the Diet. Abe's ruling coalition took almost a majority of the vote and two thirds of the seats. The last minute campaigning and voting took place as Typhoon Lan, the biggest typhoon of 2017, was wreaking havoc on Japan.
In March 2018, it was revealed that the finance ministry (with finance minister Tarō Asō at its head) had falsified documents presented to the parliament in relation to the Moritomo Gakuen scandal, to remove 14 passages implicating Abe. It was suggested that the scandal could cost Abe his seat as Liberal Democratic party's leader. Further accusations arose the same year that Abe had given preferential treatment to his friend Kotarō Kake to open a veterinary department at his school, Kake Gakuen. Abe denied the charges, but support for his administration fell below 30% in the polls, the lowest since taking power in 2012. Those who called for him to step down included former prime minister Junichirō Koizumi.
Abe welcomed the 2018 North Korea–United States summit. Shortly after the summit was announced, Abe told reporters he appreciated "North Korea's change" and attributed the diplomatic change in tone to the coordinated sanctions campaign by the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Abe, however, cautioned President Trump not to strike a compromise on North Korea's missile program that would leave Japan exposed to short-range missiles that do not reach the U.S. mainland or relieve pressure on North Korea too soon before complete denuclearization. Abe also expressed a desire to hold a bilateral meeting with North Korea on the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens, pressing President Trump to raise the matter at the summit.
Political positions and philosophyEdit
Views on historyEdit
Abe is widely viewed as a right-wing nationalist. The British journalist Rupert Wingfield-Hayes of BBC described him as "far more right wing than most of his predecessors". Since 1997, as the bureau chief of the "Institute of Junior Assembly Members Who Think About the Outlook of Japan and History Education", Abe led the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform. On his official homepage he questions the extent to which coercion was applied toward the comfort women, dismissing South Korean positions on the issue as foreign interference in Japanese domestic affairs. In a Diet session on 6 October 2006, Abe revised his statement regarding comfort women, and said that he accepted the report issued in 1993 by the sitting cabinet secretary, Yōhei Kōno, where the Japanese government officially acknowledged the issue. Later in the session, Abe stated his belief that Class A war criminals are not criminals under Japan's domestic law.
In a meeting of the Lower House Budget Committee in February 2006, Shinzō Abe said, "There is a problem as to how to define aggressive wars; we cannot say it is decided academically", and "It is not the business of the government to decide how to define the last world war. I think we have to wait for the estimation of historians". However, on a TV program in July 2006 he denied that Manchukuo was a puppet state.
Abe published a book called Toward a Beautiful Nation (美しい国へ Utsukushii kuni e) in July 2006, which became a bestseller in Japan. The Korean and Chinese governments, as well as noted academics and commentators, have voiced concern about Abe's historical views.
In March 2007, in response to a United States Congress resolution by Mike Honda, Abe denied any government coercion in the recruitment of comfort women during World War II, in line with a statement made almost ten years before on the same issue, in which Abe voiced his opposition to the inclusion of the subject of military prostitution in several school textbooks and then denied any coercion in the "narrow" sense of the word, environmental factors notwithstanding. This statement provoked negative reactions in Asian and western countries; a New York Times editorial on 6 March 2007 commented for instance:
What part of 'Japanese Army sex slaves' does Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, have so much trouble understanding and apologizing for? ... These were not commercial brothels. Force, explicit and implicit, was used in recruiting these women. What went on in them was serial rape, not prostitution. The Japanese Army's involvement is documented in the government's own defense files. A senior Tokyo official more or less apologized for this horrific crime in 1993 ... Yesterday, [Abe] grudgingly acknowledged the 1993 quasi-apology, but only as part of a pre-emptive declaration that his government would reject the call, now pending in the United States Congress, for an official apology. America isn't the only country interested in seeing Japan belatedly accept full responsibility. [South] Korea and China are also infuriated by years of Japanese equivocations over the issue.
A 2007 Washington Post editorial, "Shinzo Abe's Double Talk" also criticized him: "he's passionate about Japanese victims of North Korea—and blind to Japan's own war crimes". In The New York Times in 2014, an editorial called Abe a "nationalist" who is a profound threat to American–Japanese relations, and an opinion piece labeled Abe's position on the subject of comfort women a "war on truth". The same editorial presented him as a revisionist, a view largely accepted by the international and part of the Japanese press.
Response to mass mediaEdit
The Asahi Shimbun also accused Abe and Shōichi Nakagawa of censoring a 2001 NHK program concerning "The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal". The "tribunal" was a private committee to adjudicate comfort women; about 5,000 people including 64 victims from Japan and abroad attended. The committee members, who claimed to be specialists of international law, claimed that Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese government were responsible for the use of comfort women. The TV program, however, did not mention the full name of the tribunal and keywords such as "Japanese troops" or "sexual slavery", and it also cut the sight of the tribunal, the host grouping, statements of the organizer, and the judgement itself. Instead, it presented criticism against the tribunal by a right-wing academic and his statement that "there was no abduction of sex slaves and they were prostitutes".
On the day following the Asahi Shimbun report, Akira Nagai, the chief producer and primary person responsible for the program, held a press conference and ensured the report of the Asahi Shimbun. Abe stated that the content "had to be broadcast from a neutral point of view" and "what I did is not to give political pressure". Abe said, "It was a political terrorism by Asahi Shimbun and it was tremendously clear that they had intention to inhume me and Mr. Nakagawa politically, and it is also clear that it was complete fabrication." He also characterized the tribunal as a "mock trial" and raised objection to the presence of North Korean prosecutors singling them out as agents of North Korean government. Abe's actions in the NHK incident have been criticized[who?] as being both illegal (violating the Broadcast Law) and unconstitutional (violating the Japanese Constitution).
A news program aired on TBS on 21 July 2006 about a secret biological weapons troop of Imperial Japanese Army called Unit 731, along with a picture panel of Shinzō Abe, who has no relation to the report. Abe said in a press conference, "It is a truly big problem if they want to injure my political life". The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications inquired into fact relevance and stated that there had been an omission in editing the TV program fairly, making an administrative direction of exceptional stringent warning based upon Broadcast Law.
On 24 October 2006, a report emerged that Abe's new administration had called on the NHK to "pay attention" to the North Korean abductees issue. Critics, some even within Abe's own LDP party, charged that the government was violating freedom of expression by meddling in the affairs of the public broadcaster.
In December 2006, it was revealed that former Prime-Minister Junichiro Koizumi's government, in which Abe was Chief Cabinet Secretary, had influenced town hall style meetings, during which paid performers would ask government officials favorable questions.
On 22 November 2012, it was reported that Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) early morning TV show "Asazuba" accidentally displayed Abe's photo alongside a news report about an NHK announcer's arrest for a sex offense. Abe's face filled viewers' screens along with the name of NHK announcer Takeshige Morimoto, who anchors NHK's "Ohayo Nippon" program on Saturday and Sunday. Morimoto was arrested for allegedly groping a woman on the train. Abe posted on his public Facebook page "This morning on the TBS show 'Asazuba,' when a newscaster reported on a story regarding the apprehension of a molester, a photo of me was shown. Images of this blunder can now be seen clearly across the Internet, Have the slander campaigns already begun!? If this were merely an accident, it would be proper for the TV station to give me a personal apology, but as yet I haven't heard a single word." The newscaster acknowledged that the incorrect image had been displayed, but merely stated that the photo was "unrelated" and did not refer to the politician by name. Neither Abe nor his office have received any form of apology.
Abe has visited Yasukuni Shrine on several occasions. While serving as Chief Cabinet Secretary in the government of Junichiro Koizumi, he visited in April 2006, prompting South Korea to describe the trip as "regrettable". He visited again on 15 August 2012, the anniversary of the end of World War II, and after winning the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party, he visited on 17 October 2012 in an official capacity as party president.
He initially refrained from visiting the shrine as a sitting Prime Minister. He did not visit at all during his first term from September 2006 to September 2007, unlike his predecessor Koizumi, who had visited yearly while in office. Abe's not visiting the shrine prompted a Japanese nationalist named Yoshihiro Tanjo to cut off his own little finger in protest and mail it to the LDP. While campaigning for the presidency of the LDP in 2012, Abe said that he regretted not visiting the shrine while Prime Minister. He again refrained from visiting the shrine during the first year of his second stint as Prime Minister in consideration for improving relations with China and Korea, whose leaders refused to meet with Abe during this time. He said on 9 December 2013 that "it is natural that we should express our feelings of respect to the war dead who sacrificed their lives for the nation ... but it is my thinking that we should avoid making [Yasukuni visits] political and diplomatic issues". In lieu of visiting, Abe sent ritual offerings to the shrine for festivals in April and October 2013, as well as the anniversary of the end of World War II in August 2013.
His first visit to the shrine as Prime Minister took place on 26 December 2013, the first anniversary of his second term in office. It was the first visit to the shrine by a sitting prime minister since Junichiro Koizumi visited in August 2006. Abe said that he "prayed to pay respect for the war dead who sacrificed their precious lives and hoped that they rest in peace". The Chinese government published a protest that day, calling government visits to the shrine "an effort to glorify the Japanese militaristic history of external invasion and colonial rule and to challenge the outcome of World War II". Qin Gang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: Abe is "unwelcome by Chinese people ... Chinese leaders won't meet him any more". The Mainichi Shimbun argued in an editorial that the visit could also "cast a dark shadow" on relations with the United States, and the US embassy in Tokyo released a statement that "the United States is disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors". The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials urge Abe not to visit the shrine and pay homage to war criminals anymore. Public intellectual Amitai Etzioni of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, who was a child in Germany when the Nazis rose to power, has stated in response to Abe's visits, "Unlike Japan, [Germany] faced their past, came to terms with it and learned from it. Japan should do the same." Etzioni criticized Prime Minister Abe's visit to the shrine as well as what he refers to as Japan's recent "nationalist wave" in an op-ed for The Diplomat. On 15 August 2014, the 69th anniversary of the surrender of Japan in World War II, Abe chose to not visit the shrine, in what was perceived as a diplomatic gesture to South Korea, China and Taiwan. Despite Abe's absence, China and South Korea both voiced their disapproval at Japan's leadership as a large number of politicians, and three cabinet members, did attend the shrine to mark the anniversary.
Restoration of Sovereignty DayEdit
On 28 April 2013, a new public event, the Restoration of Sovereignty Day, was held in Tokyo to mark the 61st anniversary of the end of the US occupation of Japan. It had been proposed by Abe in 2012. The event, which was attended by Emperor Akihito, was denounced by many Okinawans who saw it as celebrating a betrayal, and there were demonstrations in both Okinawa and Tokyo.
In 2015, Abe's government refused to admit refugees affected by conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. Abe stated that Japan must solve its own problems before accepting any immigrants. Abe has favored short-term working visas for migrant workers to "work and raise incomes for a limited period of time, and then return home".
Abe's father Shintaro Abe served in the House of Representatives from 1958 to 1991 and was foreign minister from 1982 to 1986; he is the son of Kan Abe, who served in the House from 1937 to 1946. Abe's mother, Yoko Abe, is the daughter of Nobusuke Kishi, a former prime minister who was at one time imprisoned as a "Class A" war crimes suspect following the war. His older brother, Hironobu Abe, became president and CEO of Mitsubishi Shōji Packaging Corporation, while his younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, became Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Abe married Akie Matsuzaki, a socialite and former radio disc jockey, in 1987. She is the daughter of the president of Morinaga, a chocolate manufacturer. She is popularly known as the "domestic opposition party" due to her outspoken views, which often contradict her husband's. Following her husband's first stint as prime minister, she opened an organic izakaya in the Kanda district of Tokyo, but is not active in management due to the urging of her mother-in-law. The couple have no children, having undergone unsuccessful fertility treatments earlier in their marriage.
Honors, awards and international recognitionEdit
- : Member Special Class of the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud, April 2007. ( Saudi Arabia )
- Grand Cross of the Order of Honour ( Greece)
- Member First Class of the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa Order, August 2013. ( Bahrain )
- Grand Cross of the Order of Ivory Merit, January 2014. ( Ivory Coast )
- : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau, October 2014. ( Netherlands )
- :Grand Collar of the Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Raja 3 June 2015. ( Philippines )
- Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic ( Spain)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Oak Crown, 2017. ( Luxembourg)
- 2013 Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers, 2013. ( USA)
- Herman Kahn Award, September 2013. ( USA)
- Asian of the Year award, December 2013. ( Singapore)
- Time 100 in 2014, April 2014. ( USA)
First stint (2006–2007)Edit
Abe's first cabinet was announced on 26 September 2006. The only minister retained in his position from the previous Koizumi cabinet was Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who had been one of Abe's competitors for the LDP presidency. In addition to the cabinet positions existing under Koizumi, Abe created five new "advisor" positions. He reshuffled his cabinet on 27 August 2007.
- Toshikatsu Matsuoka committed suicide on 28 May 2007, hours before being due for questioning in connection to allegations of misappropriation of government funds. He was replaced by Norihiko Akagi, who himself resigned on 1 August 2007 due to suspicions of similar conduct. Masatoshi Wakabayashi was appointed Agriculture Minister, which he served concurrently with his post as Environment Minister.
- Masatoshi Wakabayashi was appointed Agriculture Minister on 3 September 2007, following Takehiko Endo's resignation due to a financial scandal.
- Prior to Abe's administration, this post was known as "Director General of the Defense Agency". In December 2006, its status was elevated to ministry level.
- Fumio Kyūma resigned on 3 July 2007 for controversial remarks made about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He was replaced by Yuriko Koike, then National Security Advisor.
- Yoshimi Watanabe was appointed Minister of State for Administrative Reform upon 28 December 2007 resignation of Genichiro Sata. He served in this capacity concurrently with his role as Minister of State for Regulatory Reform.
Second stint (2012–present)Edit
|Ancestors of Shinzō Abe|
- "Abe shows staying power as Japan's third-longest-serving leader". Nikkei Asian Review. May 27, 2017.
- Lucy Alexander (17 December 2012). "Landslide victory for Shinzo Abe in Japan election". The Times.
- "Another Attempt to Deny Japan's History". The New York Times. 2 January 2013.
- Justin McCurry (28 September 2012). "Shinzo Abe, an outspoken nationalist, takes reins at Japan's LDP, risking tensions with China, South Korea". GlobalPost.
- "Tea Party Politics in Japan" (New York Times - 2014/09/13)
- Japan Press Weekly Special Issue – November 2006 (PDF).
- Abe, Shinzo (22 February 2013). Japan is Back (Speech). CSIS. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Abe meets Xi for first China-Japan summit in more than two years". The Japan Times. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- New Japanese Leader Looks to Expand Nation's Military, NewsHour, 20 September 2006.
- BBC website Japan upgrades its defence agency, bbc.co.uk, 9 January 2007.
- "Definition of Abenomics". Financial Times Lexicon. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Formed in childhood, roots of Abe's conservatism go deep" - Japan Times - 26 December 2012
- 学校法人 成蹊学園 成蹊ニュース(2006)年度） Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- The Dragons of Troy Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine., USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2006, accessed 22 December 2012.
- Profile: Shinzo Abe BBC News Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- Shinzo Abe the Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe's official website Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- "Mob boss gets 20 for Abe home arsons", 10 March 2007, The Japan Times
- The Abe Enigma Time
- Kodomo wa shakai no takara, kuni no takara desu jimin.jp (LDP site) Archived 24 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- Shinzo Abe to Succeed Koizumi as Japan's Next Prime Minister Bloomberg
- Mori faction unease mounts / Ex-premier stumped over Abe, Fukuda and party leadership race Daily Yomiuri Archived 11 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Abe elected as new Japan premier", BBC News. Shinto Abe Inaugurated as Japanese Prime Minister July 2006. Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- "Abe Is Chosen as Japan's Youngest Leader in 65 Years", Bloomberg, 26 September 2006.
- "Japan's Abe Unexpectedly Names Omi Finance Minister", Bloomberg, 26 September 2006.
- "Report: Japan to drop plan to allow female monarch". USA Today. Associated Press. 3 January 2007. ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- New Japan PM vows strong China ties, CNN, 26 September 2006. Archived 26 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
- Japan's Abe Says Talks Needed to Improve Ties With China, South Korea VOA News Archived 14 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
- 安倍新政権に期待 親台派の印象強く, Mainichi Shimbun, 26 September 2006.[dead link]
- Ankit Panda (8 January 2014). "India-Japan Defense Ministers Agree To Expand Strategic Cooperation". The Diplomat. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "Abe calls for strategic ties between Japan, India". Nerve.in. 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Onishi, Norimitsu (31 August 2007). "Decades After War Trials, Japan Still Honors a Dissenting Judge". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- "Embattled Japanese PM stepping down" CBC News. Retrieved 12 September 2007. Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- "Japanese prime minister resigns" BBC News. Retrieved 12 September 2007. Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- "Why Did Prime Minister Abe Shinzo Resign? Crippling Diarrhea" Archived 12 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine., JapanProbe.com, 12 January 2008.
- "Japan's New Leader Says Recovered From Illness". The Wall Street Journal. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Abe, Shinzo (19 April 2013). on Growth Strategy (Speech). Japan National Press Club. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe's comeback as prime minister drives Japan's turnaround". The Washington Post. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- [Daily Yomiuri] Presidential races boost approval for DPJ, LDP 4 October 2012
- Shinoda, Tomohito (2013). Contemporary Japanese Politics. New York: Colombia University Press. pp. 222–226.
- Shinoda, Tomohito (2013). Contemporary Japanese Politics. New York: Colombia University Press. pp. 225–226.
- "Mutton dressed as Lamb". The Economist. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "BBC News - Japan election: Shinzo Abe and LDP in sweeping win - exit poll". BBC News. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Nagano, Yuriko; Demick, Barbara (16 December 2012). "Japan conservatives win landslide election victory". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Shinoda, Tomohito (2013). Contemporary Japanese Politics. New York: Colombia University Press. p. 230.
- Martin Fackler (2012-12-26). "Ex-Premier Is Chosen to Govern Japan Again". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "BBC News - Japan's Shinzo Abe unveils cabinet after voted in as PM". BBC News. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Abe, Shinzo (22 February 2013). Japan is Back (Speech). CSIS. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "New Japan Premier pushed for fast results". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Abe, Shinzo (28 January 2013). Policy Speech (Speech). Diet of Japan, 183rd Session. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Shinoda, Tomohito (2013). Contemporary Japanese Politics. New York: Colombia University Press. pp. 230–231.
- "Yen weakens as Abe threatens to strip Bank of Japan of independence". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Haruhiko Kuroda Nominated as the Next Bank of Japan Governor". The Diplomat. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Japanese central bank doubles money supply in fresh bid to spur inflation". Associated Press. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan and Abenomics Once more with feeling". The Economist. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan's central bank shocks markets with more easing as inflation slows". Reuters. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "The Kuroda Bazooka Round Two". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan approves £73bn stimulus package". Reuters. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Defense outlays see first rise in 11 years". The Japan Times. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- "Abe Orders Japan's First Sales-Tax Increase Since '97: Economy". Bloomberg. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan's economy makes surprise fall into recession". BBC News. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan's Aso signals tax hike delay, says must not happen again". Reuters. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Abe's Growth-First Fiscal Policy". Nippon.com. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan PM Abe moves toward tax hike, orders economic stimulus". Reuters. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Abe Adviser Warns Against Further Japan Sales-Tax Increase". Wall Street Journal. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan seeks to join TPP free trade talks". BBC News. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Abe declares Japan will join TPP free-trade process". The Japan Times. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "What the TPP Process Means to Japan". Nippon.com. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Agricultural Reforms in Japan Pave the Way for TPP". The Diplomat. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- Abe, Shinzo (5 June 2013). On the Third Round of Policies under the Growth Strategy (Speech). Research Institute of Japan. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Misfire The third arrow of Abenomics". The Economist. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan shadow boxes with structural reform imperative". Euromoney. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- Abe, Shinzo (22 January 2014). A New Vision from a New Japan (Speech). World Economic Forum, Davos. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Reform in Japan The third arrow". The Economist. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe launches 'third arrow' of Japanese economic reform". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan to cut corporate tax rate to 29.74 percent in two stages: sources". Reuters. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe: Unleashing the Power of 'Womenomics'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Is Abe's womenomics working?". East Asia Forum. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Three reasons why Shinzo Abe thinks women will save Japan's economy". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan passes law to launch reform of electricity sector". Reuters. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Energy deregulation threatens to break up Japanese monopolies". Financial Times. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan's New Leader Endorses Nuclear Plants". The New York Times. 30 December 2012.
- Tomoko Yamazaki; Komaki Ito (27 January 2014). "Lotus Peak Plans Abenomics Fund of Hedge Funds to Capture Demand". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
The Eurekahedge Japan Hedge Fund Index returned a record 28 percent in 2013 as Abe boosted spending and the Bank of Japan embarked on an unprecedented monetary easing, an approach dubbed Abenomics.
- "IMF Executive Board Concludes 2015 Article IV Consultation with Japan" (PDF) (Press release). IMF. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Abe's 'Growth Strategy' And The Upper House Election". Forbes. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Election Win by Ruling Party Signals Change in Japan". New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "Japan election: Abe 'wins key upper house vote'". BBC News. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "2013 House of Councillors Election Results at a Glance". Nippon.com. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- "The Prime Minister's Challenges During His Three Golden Years". Japan Foreign Policy Forum. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
- FACKLER, MARTIN (28 December 2013). "In Textbook Fight, Japan Leaders Seek to Recast History". nytimes.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- Ince, Martin (2014-05-19). "Prime Minister Abe to Accelerate Internationalisation of Japanese Universities". QS Intelligence Unit. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Taylor, Veronica (2014-12-30). "Japanese universities reach for global status". East Asia Forum. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Ansari, Aziz; Klinenberg, Eric. Modern Romance. p. 155. ISBN 1594206279.
- "Abe confirms cooperation with Britain over Algeria hostage crisis". The Japan Times. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Shinoda, Tomohito (2013). Contemporary Japanese Politics. New York: Colombia University Press. p. 233.
- "Shinzo Abe's 'unprecedented' international agenda". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe Has Visited a Quarter of the World's Countries in 20 Months: Why?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan's Abe looks for friends abroad as popularity wanes at home". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Olympics 2020: Why Tokyo is a 'safe pair of hands' to host Games". BBC News. 8 September 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan Olympic win boosts Abe, but Fukushima shadows linger". Reuters. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe to write revival story for Japan with Olympics". Financial Times. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan's PM plans 2020 Robot Olympics". The Telegraph. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "The Foreign Policy of Abe Shinzo: Strategic Vision and Policy Implementation". The ASAN Forum. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- Cucek, Prof. Michael (17 December 2015). Japan's Political Outlook for 2016 (Speech). Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
YouTube title: Michael Thomas Cucek: Japan's Political Outlook for 2016, at time: 1:02:12
- "Abe, Cameron agree to boost Japan-Britain security cooperation". The Japan Times. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- Bourke, Latika (8 July 2014). "Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe addresses Federal Parliament, signs free trade deal with Australia". Australian Broadcasting Commission. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016.
- Shinzo Abe's condolences for those lost at Sandakan: a horror from the past, a moment to stop time; by Tony Wright; Sydney Morning Herald; 9 July 2014
- The Guardian "Japan's PM offers 'sincere condolences' for horrors of second world war" July 8, 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015
- "Shinzo Abe first Japanese premier at Republic Day celebrations". Times of India. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Twitter friendship blossoms for Asian nationalists Modi and Abe". Reuters. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Narendra Modi And Shinzo Abe Set To Sign Slew Of Agreements Between India And Japan". International Business Times. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan and India's mutual courtship". Al Jazeera. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe offers Japan's help in maintaining regional security". Japan Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- "Japan and South Korea summit signals thaw in relations". The Guardian. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "South Korea and China angered by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's visit to controversial shrine to war dead". Reuters. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "China's response to Japan's constitutional reinterpretation". East Asia Forum. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japanese PM Shinzo Abe urges Asia military restraint". BBC News. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe At World Economic Forum: 'Restrain Military Expansion In Asia'". The Diplomat. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan's Abe and China's Xi hold ice-breaking meeting as Apec starts". The Guardian. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- J. Berkshire Miller (29 January 2014). "How Will Japan's New NSC Work?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Katsuhisa Kuramae (8 January 2014). "New national security bureau faces rocky start". The Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- Japan moves to strengthen military New York Timesl retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "Japan's Troubling State Secrets Law Takes Effect". The Diplomat. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan's Abe Secures Passage of Secrecy Law as Opposition Revolts". Bloomberg. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan's State Secrets Bill Polarizes Society". The Diplomat. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe defends Japan's secrets law that could jail whistleblowers for 10 years". The Guardian. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Potent Protests". The Economist. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan cabinet approves landmark military change". BBC News. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Reinterpreting Japan's Constitution". Council on Foreign Relations. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "US, Japan Agree to New Defense Guidelines". The Diplomat. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "China's response to Japan's constitutional reinterpretation". East Asia Forum. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- Abe, Shinzo (1 July 2014). Press Conference by Prime Minister Abe (Speech). Kantei, Tokyo. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe keeps core intact in Cabinet shake-up". Japan Times. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
- "Abe Cabinet Rocked by Double Resignation". Nippon.com. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Japan PM Abe considers sales tax hike delay, snap election -media". Reuters. 9 November 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Abe looks to 'reset' parliamentary gridlock". Mainichi. 12 November 2014. Archived from the original on 16 November 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Japan's economy makes surprise fall into recession". BBC News. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Press Conference by Prime Minister Abe". Kantei. 2014-11-21. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Japan PM seeks verdict on 'Abenomics' in snap election". Reuters. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Opposition parties seek unity, find disarray, ahead of election campaign". ajw.asahi.com. THE ASAHI SHIMBUN. 22 November 2014. Archived from the original on 30 December 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "Abe tightens grip on power as ruling coalition wins 325 seats in Lower House election". Japan Times. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe re-elected as Japan's prime minister". BBC News. 24 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Japanese PM Abe Urges Most Drastic Reforms Since WW2". The Diplomat. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe stands his ground as Moritomo Gakuen scandal drags on". The Japan Times. 2017-03-13. Archived from the original on 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
- "Japan's Abe pledges support for Mideast countries battling Islamic State". Reuters. 17 January 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan PM Shinzo Abe in Islamic State 'hostages' vow". BBC News. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan Will 'Never Forgive' IS Hostage Murder". Sky News. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan outraged at IS 'beheading' of hostage Kenji Goto". BBC News. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "PM Abe's approval ratings rise in Japan after hostage crisis". Reuters. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "How Abe used the IS hostage crisis to push security reform". East Asia Forum. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs : Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress "Toward an Alliance of Hope" (April 29, 2015) Retrieved 4 May 2015
- Shinzo Abe of Japan Avoids Specifics in Speech on Trade Accord April 29, 2015 New York Times Retrieved 4 May 2015
- "Obama welcomes Abe to White House with high ceremony". Associated Press. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Relief, surprise and ambiguity in Abe's war apology". East Asia Forum. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- Abe, Shinzo (14 August 2015). Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Speech). Kantei, Tokyo. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan WW2: PM Shinzo Abe expresses 'profound grief'". BBC News. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Abe's WWII balancing act". East Asia Forum. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "U.S. welcomes Abe's statement on war anniversary". Reuters. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Abe treads a fine line on WWII". East Asia Forum. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe: Japan PM in India, bullet train deal on cards". BBC News. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan and India agree bullet train, nuclear deals". AFP. 12 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Narendra Modi calls Japan PM Shinzo Abe a 'phenomenal leader'". First Post. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "The significance of the Japan–India nuclear deal". First Post. 25 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "China, Japan, South Korea to hold first summit in three years". Reuters. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "China, Japan and South Korea Pledge to Expand Trade at Joint Meetingl". New York Times. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "China, Japan and South Korea relations 'completely restored' after summit". CNN. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan-Korea relations after Abe's war anniversary statement: Opportunity for a reset?". Heritage Foundation. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Japan and South Korea agree WW2 'comfort women' deal". BBC News. 28 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Abe Offers Apology, Compensation to South Korean `Comfort Women's". Bloomberg. 28 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Donald Trump meets with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe for first foreign meeting". The Independent. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- "North Korea shoots missile 500km in 'show of force' to Trump, says South". The Guardian. February 12, 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- "Trump commits to security of Japan". USA Today. February 10, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- "Trump and Japan's Abe take a swing at golf diplomacy". Reuters. February 11, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- NYT, 2015
- "Japan's Controversial Security Bills Pass in the Upper House. Now What?". The Diplomat. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "The Abe Government's Security Bills". Tokyo Foundation. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Diet session extended through September as Abe aims to pass contentious security bills". Japan Times. 22 June 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe Security Bills Pass Japan's Lower House as Protests Flare". Bloomberg. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan's lower house approves change to self-defence law". BBC News. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Amid angry scenes, ruling parties force security bills through Lower House committee". Japan Times. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "The Difficult Role of the Top Opposition Party". Nippon.com. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe's future uncertain as public support dives". Nikkei. 3 August 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan Moves to Allow Military Combat for First Time in 70 Years". New York Times. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Experts' 'unconstitutional' verdict on security bills highlights contradictions". Mainichi Shimbun. 6 June 2015. Archived from the original on 28 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Former justice brands security bills as unconstitutional, slams Abe for sophistry". Japan Times. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Nagasaki survivor warns Abe reforms 'will lead to war'". Telegraph. 9 August 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Cartoon capers: Japan PM uses offbeat PR blitz to rescue ratings". Reuters. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan to allow military role overseas in historic move". BBC News. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan's Parliament Approves Overseas Combat Role for Military". New York Times. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- Abe, Shinzo (25 September 2015). Press Conference by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Speech). Kantei, Tokyo. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan's Fleet Review: Abe Boards US Warship for First Time Ever". The Diplomat. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan to launch antiterrorism intelligence unit". Nikkei. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan Cabinet OKs Record Defense Budget Amid China Concern". Associated Press. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Shinzo Abe of Japan Re-elected as Leader of Ruling Party". New York Times. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- "Abe reshuffles Cabinet, adding minister to focus on economy". Associated Press. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe aims arrows at new targets with three fresh goals for 'Abenomics,' 20% rise in GDP". Nippon.com. 24 September 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abenomics 2.0 – PM updates plan to refresh Japanese economy". Associated Press. 24 September 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Reading Between the Lines of Abenomics 2.0". Nippon.com. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Less of the same". The Economist. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abenomics 2.0: A Reform Reboot For Japan?". The Diplomat. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe regains support on pivot to economy". Nikkei. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Public support for Abe Cabinet rises for third month". The Japan Times. 12 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe hails TPP success but calls it 'just a start'". The Japan Times. 6 October 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan's economy falls back into recession again". BBC News. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Japan avoids recession, revised growth at 1 percent". Associated Press. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe prioritized coalition with Komeito". The Yomiuri Shimbun. 14 December 2015. Archived from the original on 28 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Tax agreement irks some in LDP". The Yomiuri Shimbun. 16 December 2015. Archived from the original on 28 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "3 years on, Abe leads prime minister's office to dominate politics". The Mainichi Shimbun. 24 December 2015. Archived from the original on 25 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe orders reduced rates to cushion blow from 2017 tax hike". The Japan Times. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe: Reduced tax rate for food 'best possible result'". The Yomiuri Shimbun. 14 December 2015. Archived from the original on 28 December 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Abe camp gains supermajority needed to alter constitution". Nikkei Asian Review. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- "Japan's Abe hopes for reform of pacifist charter by 2020". Reuters. May 3, 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- "Why the LDP keeps winning elections in Japan: pragmatism". The Economist. 12 October 2017.
- Repeta, Lawrence (2017-10-15). "Backstory to Abe's Snap Election – the Secrets of Moritomo, Kake and the "Missing" Japan SDF Activity Logs". The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
- "Japan PM Abe's ruling bloc on track for big election win - exit polls". 22 October 2017 – via Reuters.
- Reuters staff (2018-04-15). "Japan PM Abe's rating falls in media poll amid scandal woes". Reuters. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
- "Word of Trump-Kim Summit Meeting Stirs Concern in Asia". The New York Times. March 8, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- "North Korea's neighbors may have conflicting goals for Kim-Trump summit". Chicago Tribune. June 9, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- "Trump-Kim summit: Why Japan's defence strategy hangs in the balance". The Straits Times. June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- "Abe repeats desire to hold summit with North Korea on abduction issue". Japan Times. June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- Rupert Wingfield-Hayes (15 December 2012). "Japan loses faith in traditional politics". BBC.
-  Archived 11 October 2004 at the Wayback Machine.
- Abe clarifies views on 'history issue,' reaffirms apologies, Daily Yomiuri, 7 October 2006. Archived 11 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Official minutes of the Budget Committee". 18 February 2006.
- サンデープロジェクト/志位委員長の発言/（大要 Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- Abe's "normal" Japan, ZNet, 5 October 2006. Archived 27 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
- History Redux: Japan's Textbook Battle Reignites, Japan Policy Research Institute Working Paper No. 107 (June 2005).
- Japan's difficult drive to be a 'beautiful country', The Hankyoreh, 2 September 2006.
- The Japan Times 2 March 2007
- "No comfort". The New York Times. March 6, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2007.
- Shinzo Abe's Double Talk, The Washington Post, 24 March 2007.
- "Mr. Abe's Dangerous Revisionism". The New York Times. 2 March 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- "The Comfort Women and Japan's War on Truth". The New York Times. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- Kingston, Jeff (2015-08-22). "Abe's revisionism and Japan's divided war memories". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Washington's dubious silence on Abe revisionism". Chinadaily.com.cn. 2015-08-14. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Abe refuses to make direct apology". Koreatimes.co.kr. 2015-08-14. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Kosuke Takahashi (2014-02-13). "Shinzo Abe's Nationalist Strategy". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Blame George Kennan for Abe's Bad History". Bloomberg.com. 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- LDP pressure led to cuts in NHK show, Asahi Shimbun, 12 January 2005.
- "What is the Women's Tribunal?" Archived 5 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 29 September 2007.
- 安倍晋三氏の事実歪曲発言について Archived 5 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine., Violence Against Women in War Network Japan, 17 January 2005.
- War and Japan's Memory Wars, ZNet, 29 January 2005.
- Japan to order more public media coverage of North Korea abductees, International Herald Tribune, 24 October 2006.
- Japan's Leaders Rigged Voter Forums, a Government Report Says, New York Times, 14 December 2006.
- TV blunder labels Abe a train groper, RocketNews24, 22 November 2012.
- Abe's April Yasukuni visit regrettable, Seoul says The Japan Times, 5 August 2006
- Fears mount over LDP's nationalistic turn Saber-rattling over island disputes likely to grow louder The Japan Times, 22 September 2012
- Abe pays Yasukuni visit amid isle rows The Japan Times, 17 October 2012
- Severed pinkie sent to LDP to protest Abe's Yasukuni no-show The Japan Times, 24 August 2007
- "Abe unlikely to visit Yasukuni by year-end in consideration for ties with neighbors". Mainichi Shimbun. 25 December 2013. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Japanese prime minister visits Yasukuni war shrine". Associated Press. 26 December 2013. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Chinese Make it Clear Blocking Abe". Sina News (in Chinese). Beijing. 27 December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- "Abe's Yasukuni visit could cast dark shadow on Japanese foreign diplomacy". Mainichi Shimbun. 26 December 2013. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Statement on Prime Minister Abe's December 26 Visit to Yasukuni Shrine". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 26 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "U.S. Seeks Abe Assurance He Won't Visit War Shrine". The Wall Street Journal. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Chen Weihua, "Japan should learn from Germany: US expert", China Daily, 29 January 2014, .
- Etzioni, Amitai, "Japan Should Follow--Germany", The Diplomat, 6 February 2014, .
- "Abe avoids war shrine to placate neighbours on WWII surrender anniversary". The Japan News.Net. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "Japan marks 'return of sovereignty' day". BBC News. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Japan says it must look after its own before allowing in Syrian refugees". The Guardian. 30 September 2015.
- "Japan: Abe Misses Chance on Immigration Debate". The Diplomat 6 March 2015.
- "Akie Abe not afraid to speak her mind". Japan Today. 4 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "BBC NEWS - Asia-Pacific - Japan PM's wife in rare interview". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- "石油備蓄で基地提供提案 安倍首相、サウジ国王に". 47news. 29 April 2007. Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- Decoraties Staatsbezoeken Japan en Republiek Korea Archived 4 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine. - website of the Dutch Royal House
-  - website of Inquirer.net
-  - website of Inquirer.net, Spanish Official Journal (In Spanish)
- Abe attempts to save his LDP with Cabinet reshuffle Archived 6 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Japan News Review, 27 August 2007.
- "List of Ministers". Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- Yomiuri Shimbun, "Cabinet Lineup", 28 Dec. 2012
- Kameda, Masaaki; Kyodo News Agency (23 February 2015). "Farm minister Nishikawa resigns over donation scandal". The Japan Times. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- Kantei; "List of Ministers (The Cabinet)" (25 June 2015). Retrieved 25 December 2015. Archived 14 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
- Kantei; "List of Ministers (The Cabinet)" (7 Oct 2015). Retrieved 25 December 2015. Archived 4 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
- Katsuhisa Kuramae (8 January 2014). "New national security bureau faces rocky start". The Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
- Elaine Lies & Kiyoshi Takenaka (25 June 2015). "Veteran politician Endo named Japan Olympics minister". Reuters UK. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
- "Japanese economy minister Akira Amari quits over bribery claims". BBC. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shinzō Abe.|
- Official website (in Japanese)
- Prime Minister of Japan Official Website (in English)
- Shinzo Abe on IMDb
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|House of Representatives of Japan|
|New constituency||Member of the House of Representatives
for Yamaguchi's 4th district
|Party political offices|
|Director-General of the
Liberal Democratic Party Youth Division
|Secretary-General of the
Liberal Democratic Party
|President of the
Liberal Democratic Party
|President of the
Liberal Democratic Party
|Chief Cabinet Secretary
|Prime Minister of Japan
|Leader of the Opposition
|Prime Minister of Japan
|Chair of the Group of Seven