Shinzo Abe: A mastermind who shaped Japan

Status: 08.07.2022 11:52 AM

Longtime Japanese Prime Minister Abe pushed his country to the right. He did not back down from the pacifist constitution. In the West he was known for his “Abenomics”.

By Katherine Erdman, ARD Studio Tokyo

In 2006 Shinzo Abe shouted, “Let’s go, let’s go.” That was when the Liberal Democrats were first sworn in as the head of government of Japan. This won’t be the only time – right-wing conservative politicians will shape the country. “I set up a cabinet to build a beautiful country,” Abe said. But at first nothing was known about it. After a bitter electoral defeat, he had to resign a year later.

Katherine Erdman

In 2012, after the triple disaster of Fukushima and the hapless Democrats, Abe returned as prime minister. He promised economic reforms, the so-called Abenomics, that should ensure continued survival as the third largest economic power in the world and give a better life to the 126 million Japanese.

Trump’s first foreign guest

Under his leadership the country moved southwards. He changed security laws and strengthened alliances with the US. After the election of US President Donald Trump, he was the first foreign guest at the White House – the two politicians played golf together.

At home in Japan, Abe and, to a lesser extent, his wife were involved in various scandals. But in spite of overwhelming evidence, he came down with black eyes. Protests were held against him and his resignation was demanded. But Abe was always well connected and a mastermind – he remained in office and was re-elected.

Abe confidently said in 2018, “We have won five elections in the past, which give us a mandate for a stable economic base. Everyone has found a good job through them and Japan has established itself in foreign policy.” “

He met with Chancellor Merkel, Putin, Xi – he shook hands with all of them, but it was often nothing more than that. He hoped that the Russian president would give him the two Kuril Islands, which belong to Russia but are claimed by Japan. Abe was confident of victory, but Putin put him on the backburner.

investment in japan army

From the very beginning, Abe wanted one thing above all: to arm Japan. Defense spending increased annually. And he plans to dismantle the pacifist constitution: “With the new government now in office, we will vigorously discuss changing the Liberal Democrat constitution,” he announced in 2019.

The Olympic Games were to be held a year later. Although the number of Kovid in Japan also increased, the then Prime Minister continued with the Games until there was no other option. And then sold the postponement as his idea: “IOC President Bach agreed to my proposal. We are postponing the Olympic Games and the Paralympics to the summer of 2021.”

Then a corona emergency was declared – and Abe officially left office for health reasons. Until his death, however, he pulled strings in the background.

Portrait of Shinzo Abe

Katherine Erdman, ARD Tokyo, July 8, 2022 11:03 am


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