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Shinzo Abe


  • Originally published 07/03/2014

    Shinzo Abe’s Gone and Done It

    For the economy Japanese prime minister Abe has arrows, for foreign policy he wants missiles and for the constitution, well, he has just driven a tank over it.

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Abe to skip visit to Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15

    To prevent relations with China and South Korea from further deteriorating, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided not to visit Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, the date marking the end of World War II, sources said.Instead, Abe will make a personal monetary offering in his position as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to the shrine, which memorializes Japan’s war dead along with 14 Class-A war criminals, according to the sources.Abe has been forced into a delicate balancing act concerning Yasukuni Shrine.The prime minister has been repeatedly asked about his plans for Aug. 15. His usual reply has been: “Because the very question of whether I visit the shrine will by itself become a political and diplomatic issue, I will not say whether or not I will visit.”...

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Abe refuses to move into prime minister's 'haunted' mansion

    Traditionally, Japanese tell ghost stories in the middle of summer, perhaps as a chilling way to take their minds off the heat.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was no exception when he invited executives of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party to a dinner at the Prime Minister's Official Residence on July 30.“Why don't we live here together? I am frightened," Abe is quoted as telling one participant. "I do not feel like living here because there are ghosts.”Abe and his Cabinet have categorically denied that ghosts appear at the structure, associated with two bloody coup attempts by the military before World War II....

  • Originally published 07/24/2013

    Jennifer Lind: The Limits on Nationalism in Japan

    Jennifer Lind, an associate professor of government at Dartmouth, is the author of “Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics.”...[O]n Aug. 15, the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in the war, many officials [including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe] are likely to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the nation’s war dead and includes among them convicted war criminals.The way Mr. Abe observes those two anniversaries will be read, especially by China and South Korea, as a measure of his attitudes toward the past and his sensitivities toward Japan’s neighbors.An episode from this spring suggests that nationalism is the last thing Japanese voters want from their government. Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, made comments justifying the use of comfort women by citing soldiers’ hardship. “If you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a system like the ‘comfort women’ is necessary,” he said. “Anyone can understand that.”...

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Kirk Spitzer: Shinzo Abe, The Wild Card

    Kirk Spitzer is a Tokyo-based freelance writer and former defense correspondent for USA Today and CBS News. TOKYO — Japanese voters are almost certain to give Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) an overwhelming victory in upper house elections on July 21. The election so far has focused largely on economic recovery -- and for once there's hope on the horizon. Abe's aggressive program of monetary easing and government spending has begun to jolt the economy out of nearly two decades of deflation and stagnation. The prime minister, who's been operating with only the lower house of the Diet backing him, is looking to regain a majority in the upper house to help push through his "third arrow" of structural reforms....

  • Originally published 07/19/2013

    Japan's Prime Minister is a Far-Right Nationalist

    Is it possible that the best way to win future wars is to avoid them altogether?  As simple as that question is, you will rarely hear it asked in the halls of power in Washington.

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    J. Berkshire Miller: Abe's Unhelpful Historical Interventions

    J. Berkshire Miller is a fellow on Japan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum. The views expressed are his own.“Japan is back,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced to a packed room at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington back in February. The remarks came during his first visit to the United States since he returned to power in a landslide election in December. But while Abe’s aggressive stimulus policies have sent his approval ratings soaring at home, Japan’s neighbors have been watching much more warily....

  • Originally published 05/08/2013

    Japan says it will honor apologies for WWII

    TOKYO — Japan does not plan to revise past apologies to neighboring countries for atrocities committed by its Imperial Army before and during World War II, top government officials said Wednesday.The comments by the chief government spokesman and the foreign minister appear intended to allay criticisms of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s earlier vows to revise the apologies, including an acknowledgement of sexual slavery during the war.Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan recognizes the harm it caused during its invasion and occupation of much of Asia, and that it has repeatedly and clearly stated that position.“The Abe government has expressed sincere condolences to all victims of the war, in and out of the country, and there is no change in that,” Suga told reporters. “We have repeatedly said we have no intention of making this a diplomatic and political issue, but I’m afraid this may not be fully understood.”...

  • Originally published 05/08/2013

    Japan acknowledges comfort women study flawed

    TOKYO — Japan has acknowledged that it conducted only a limited investigation before claiming there was no official evidence that its imperial troops coerced Asian women into sexual slavery before and during World War II.A parliamentary statement signed Tuesday by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged the government had a set of documents produced by a postwar international military tribunal containing testimony by Japanese soldiers about abducting Chinese women as military sex slaves. That evidence apparently was not included in Japan’s only investigation of the issue, in 1991-1993.Tuesday’s parliamentary statement also said documents showing forcible sex slavery may still exist. The statement did not say whether the government plans to consider the documents as evidence showing that troops had coerced women into sexual slavery.Over the past two days, top officials of Abe’s conservative government have appeared to soften their stance on Japan’s past apologies to neighboring countries for wartime atrocities committed by the Imperial Army, saying Japan does not plan to revise them....

  • Originally published 05/01/2013

    Washington Post Editorial: Shinzo Abe’s Inability to Face History

    FROM THE MOMENT last fall when Shinzo Abe reclaimed the office of Japanese prime minister that he had bungled away five years earlier, one question has stood out: Would he restrain his nationalist impulses — and especially his historical revisionism — to make progress for Japan?Until this week, the answer to that question was looking positive. Mr. Abe has taken brave steps toward reforming Japan’s moribund economy. He defied powerful interest groups within his party, such as rice farmers, to join free-trade talks with the United States and other Pacific nations that have the potential to spur growth in Japan. He spoke in measured terms of his justifiable desire to increase defense spending.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Japan officials’ war shrine visits may reflect shift toward PM Abe’s nationalist agenda

    TOKYO — Visits by Cabinet ministers and lawmakers to a shrine honoring Japan’s war dead, including 14 World War II leaders convicted of atrocities, signal Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s determination to pursue a more nationalist agenda after months of focusing on the economy.Nearly 170 Japanese lawmakers paid homage at Yasukuni Shrine on Tuesday. A day earlier, visits by three Cabinet ministers, said by the government to be unofficial, drew protests from neighbors South Korea and China over actions they view as failures to acknowledge Japan’s militaristic past.China and South Korea — Japan’s No. 1 and No. 3 trading partners, respectively — bore the brunt of Tokyo’s pre-1945 militarist expansion in Asia and routinely criticize visits to the shrine. Almost seven decades after the war ended, it still overshadows relations....

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