Race to Lead Japan May Turn on Asia Ties
With Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi set to retire in September, the battle in the governing Liberal Democratic Party over who will succeed him as party leader and prime minister is well under way. So far, the race is turning into a referendum on what to do about Japan's troubled relations with its Asian neighbors, especially China.
Japan's relations with China and South Korea have chilled, particularly in the last year, because of several disputes over history, territory and Mr. Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, the memorial where the country's highest-ranking war criminals are enshrined.
Polls here indicate the race is now between politicians with starkly different views: Shinzo Abe, 51, the chief cabinet secretary, who has said that a Japanese prime minister should visit the Yasukuni Shrine and who has become extremely popular by being tough on North Korea and China; and Yasuo Fukuda, 69, a former chief cabinet secretary, who has criticized Mr. Koizumi's visits to the Shinto shrine and talked of rebuilding friendly ties with the rest of East Asia.
Although neither has yet declared his candidacy for the September party election, Mr. Abe leads in the polls. Mr. Fukuda has narrowed the gap significantly in recent weeks, however, buttressed by what experts say is the growing public sentiment that fixing ties with China should be one of the next prime minister's top priorities.
comments powered by Disqus
- New Hampshire professors at odds with library over discarded books
- Troubled history fuels Japan-China tension
- Independent Scotland's last gasp forgotten in Panama jungle
- LBJ was the ‘most-threatened president in American history’
- New exhibit at the World War I Museum ... Over by Christmas: August-December 1914
- Ken Burns on Colbert to promote his new documentary, "The Address"
- UC Santa Barbara History Department featuring a series on the Great Society at 50
- Historians are trying to recover censored texts from World War I poets
- Diane Ravitch blasts the NYT for failing to understand the controversy over Common Core
- Mormon history professors debate atheists in bid to foster greater understanding