Since he took power in 2006, when he became the prime minister youngest in Japan at 52, Shinzo Abe seemed destined to change the politics of his country. With no vital signs after being shot at a rally in Nara by a 41-year-old former military man already in detention named Yamagami Tetsuya, Abe can make such a change even in his death. In an extremely safe country like Japan, the attack suffered this Friday awakens the worst ghosts of political violence and ideological radicalization.
Until resignation Due to problems at the end of August 2020, Abe was the president who had been in charge of the Japanese archipelago for the longest time, where its leaders barely last a year in power. But just when he held the record as prime minister With more days in office, 2,799, an untimely visit to the hospital revealed that he was suffering from the same intestinal disease, ulcerative colitis, which had already forced him to resign in 2007. Unable to continue, Abe was replaced by Yoshihide Suga, who a year later it was revealed by the current prime minister, Fumio Kishida, as shocked as the rest of the country by this attack. And it is that Abe aroused equal parts passion and hatred in the measured Japan, where the containment of emotions is one of its signs of national identity.
Japanese right wing hawk
Born in 1954 in Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Abe graduated in Politics from Seiki University in 1977 and then continued his studies at the University of Southern California in the United States. As his father, Shintaro Abe, was head of Foreign Affairs and his grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, prime minister between 1957 and 1960, ended up in the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) after a brief stint in private enterprise.
Considered a hawk of the nippon right for his eagerness to reform the country’s pacifist Constitution, during his time in power he maintained tense relations with China and South Korea due to his past visits to the controversial Yasukuni shrine, where the souls of those who fell in the act of service are honored by Japan, including various criminals from World War II.
Promoter of economic recovery thanks to its stimulus program, baptized “Abenomics”, it intended to restore to Japan the international relevance lost by the rise of China. For this, the Olympic and Paralympic Games that were to be held in Tokyo in the summer of 2020, which were postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus, were essential. Two world events that Abe wanted to inaugurate but that, first the pandemic and then health, prevented him from doing so. Breaking with the traditional Japanese rigidity, even lent himself to dress up as Super Mario to receive the Olympic relay during the closing of the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. A joke that brought his figure closer to the public around the world and consolidated his prestige during his second time as head of Japan, very different from the first a decade before.
Plagued by numerous corruption scandals and by the inexplicable loss of millions of Social Security contributions, he barely lasted a year in office in the 2006-2007 period.
After a long experience in the ranks of the hegemonic Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), in 2006 he replaced Junichiro Koizumi as Prime Minister, who left the Government when the presidency of said political formation expired a year after his landslide re-election at the polls. Plagued by numerous corruption scandals and the inexplicable loss of millions of Social Security contributions, Abe barely lasted a year in office and tendered his resignation in September 2007 due to serious health problems.
Despite that failure, ran again in the 2012 elections and defeated the Social Democratic government that, the previous year, had suffered from the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Since then, Abe has brought the elections forward twice to take advantage of the weakness of the opposition and get re-elected with a large advantage. He did so in 2014 and 2017, when, before continuing to lose popularity due to the corruption cases that threatened his management, he revalidated his mandate without giving his main rival, the governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike, time. , I could put up a fight. Abe thus ended the traditional brevity suffered by Japanese prime ministers since Junichiro Koizumi, who was in office from 2001 to 2006. Curiously, the previous prime minister who held this record of permanence was an uncle of his: Eisaku Sato.
Thanks to the weakness of the opposition, Abe politically survived Japan’s faltering economy, several cases of corruption and cronyism, and the coronavirus pandemic. After his withdrawal two years ago, he was still active and it was not ruled out that he would stand for election again if his health allowed. All in order to fulfill his goal of changing Japan. A revolution that he can achieve even if he dies after this strange attack in a country that, after World War II, displayed its pacifism.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism