Shinzō Abe

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In this Japanese name, the family name is "Abe".
Shinzō Abe
安倍 晋三
Shinzō Abe April 2014.jpg
Abe in The Istana in Singapore in April 2014.
57th Prime Minister of Japan
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 26, 2012
Monarch Akihito
Deputy Tarō Asō
Preceded by Yoshihiko Noda
In office
September 26, 2006 – September 26, 2007
Monarch Akihito
Preceded by Junichiro Koizumi
Succeeded by Yasuo Fukuda
President of the Liberal Democratic Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
September 26, 2012
Deputy Masahiko Kōmura
Preceded by Sadakazu Tanigaki
In office
September 20, 2006 – September 26, 2007
Preceded by Junichiro Koizumi
Succeeded by Yasuo Fukuda
Chief Cabinet Secretary
In office
October 31, 2005 – September 26, 2006
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Preceded by Hiroyuki Hosoda
Succeeded by Yasuhisa Shiozaki
Personal details
Born 安倍晋三 (Abe Shinzō?)
(1954-09-21) September 21, 1954 (age 59)
Nagato, Yamaguchi, Japan
Political party Liberal Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Akie Abe
Alma mater
Religion Shinto

Shinzō Abe (安倍 晋三 Abe Shinzō?, [abe ɕinzoː] ( ); born September 21, 1954) is the 57th and current Prime Minister of Japan, reelected to the position in December 2012. Abe is also the President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and chairman of the Oyagaku propulsion parliamentary group.

Abe served for a year as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007. Hailing from a politically prominent family, he became Japan's youngest post-war prime minister, and the first to be born after World War II, when he was elected by a special session of the National Diet in September 2006. Abe resigned on September 12, 2007, for health reasons. He was replaced by Yasuo Fukuda, beginning a string of prime ministers, none of whom retained office for more than a year before Abe staged a political comeback.

On September 26, 2012, Abe defeated former Minister of Defense Shigeru Ishiba in a run-off vote to win the LDP presidential election. Following the LDP's landslide victory in the 2012 general election, Abe became the Prime Minister again. He is the first former Prime Minister to return to the office since Shigeru Yoshida in 1948.

Early life[edit]

Abe was born in Nagato, Yamaguchi and soon moved to Tokyo. He attended Seikei Elementary School and Seikei High School.[1] He studied political science at Seikei University, graduating in 1977. He later moved to the United States and studied public policy at the University of Southern California's School of Public Policy, but dropped out.[2] In April 1979, Abe began working for Kobe Steel.[3] 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.[4]

Abe was born into a political family of significance. His grandfather, Kan Abe, and father, Shintaro Abe, were both politicians. Abe's mother, Yoko Kishi,[5] 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 1950, Shigeru Yoshida's Liberal Party and Kishi's Democratic Party merged as an anti-leftist coalition and was reestablished as the LDP.

Member of House of Representatives[edit]

Shinzō Abe (right), as Chief Cabinet Secretary, meets with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick in January 2006.

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 Junichiro 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. Junichiro 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, Yamaguchi 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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

On September 20, 2006, Abe was elected as the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.[9] His chief competitors for the position were Sadakazu Tanigaki and Taro Aso. 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.[10]

On September 26, 2006 Abe was elected prime minister with 339 of 475 votes in the Diet's lower house and a firm majority in the upper house.[11]

First term as Prime Minister[edit]

Abe, elected at age 52, in 2006, was the youngest prime minister since Fumimaro Konoe in 1941.[12]

Domestic policy[edit]

Economy[edit]

Abe expressed a general commitment to the fiscal reforms instituted by his predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi.[12] He has taken some steps toward balancing the Japanese budget, such as appointing a tax policy expert, Koji 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.[13] In 2013, due to unprecedented actions taken by the Shinzō Abe government, the Eurekahedge Japan Hedge Fund Index posted a record 28 percent return. Abe is credited with the improvement in the Japanese economy through a policy of combining increased government spending with unprecedented monetary easing, an approach which has been labeled "Abenomics."[14]

Education[edit]

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).

Imperial household[edit]

Abe held conservative views in the Japanese succession controversy, and abandoned a proposed legislative amendment to permit women to inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne shortly after the birth of Prince Hisahito of Akishino.[15]

Foreign policy[edit]

Abe shakes hands with then U.S. President George W. Bush in April 2007

North Korea[edit]

Abe with then Vice President of U.S.Dick Cheney in Tokyo February 2007

Shinzō Abe has generally taken a hard-line stance with respect to North Korea, especially regarding the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens.

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 aborted.

On July 7, 2006, North Korea conducted missile tests over the Sea of Japan. Abe, as Chief Cabinet Secretary, cooperated with Foreign Minister Taro Aso to seek sanctions against North Korea in the United Nations Security Council.[citation needed]

China, South Korea, and Taiwan[edit]

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.[16] Abe has also said that China–Japan relations should not continue to be based on emotions.[17]

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.[18] 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.[18]

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 for their support. However, relations with China continue to be tarnished by the Senkaku Islands dispute and Abe's visits to Yasukuni shrine (see below).

India[edit]

Abe, on both his terms as prime minister, has worked to improve the strategic relationship of Japan with India.[19] Abe was an initiator of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Japan, the United States, Australia and India in 2007. His three-day visit to India in August 2007 was said to be the start of a new Asian alliance, building on the long history of strong, friendly bilateral relations enjoyed by India and Japan. Abe proposed a "Broader Asia" alliance of democracies as a counterweight to China's growing influence in the realm of economics and military power.[citation needed] Abe's initiative was seen to be the "fifth" bilateral link in this emerging scenario whereas the U.S.–Australia, U.S.–Japan, Japan–Australia, and U.S.–India links are already established. A sixth link of the India-Australia is said to be the logical corollary in an attempt to create a new quadrilateral of military cooperation which China has labeled the "Asian NATO".[20] Abe's India foreign policy was pragmatic, as it was based on boosting Japan's resurgent economic indicators, while gaining a crucial partner in Asia. India, alone amongst all major Asian countries, does not have a history of serious military dispute with Japan.[21]

Defense[edit]

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".[22] During his first period as prime minister he upgraded the Japan Defense Agency to full ministry status.[23]

Like his predecessors, he supported the Japanese alliance with the United States.[11]

In December, 2013, he 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.[24]

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.[25]

On May 30, 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.[26]

Unpopularity and sudden resignation[edit]

After Agricultural Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka committed suicide, Abe's approval rating remained below 30% for months according to opinion polls of Jiji Press.[citation needed] Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party suffered great losses in the upper house election. 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 August 27, 2007. However, the new agricultural minister Takehiko Endo, involved in a finance scandal, resigned only 7 days later.

On September 12, 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.[27][28] 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.[29] On September 26, 2007 Abe officially ended his term as Yasuo Fukuda became the new Prime Minister of Japan.

Second term as Prime Minister[edit]

Prime Minister Abe visited Washington D.C. in February 2013

On September 26, 2012, Abe was re-elected as president of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party[30] winning the support of 328 members of the 480-seat lower house.[31]

In elections on December 16, 2012, the LDP won 294 seats in the 480 seat lower house of parliament. 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."[32] Abenomics, as his economic policy has been called, consists of fiscal and monetary expansion with a 2% target interest rate. Abe also said he favours the re-building of Japan's nuclear reactors following the Fukushima disaster[33](though much of the authority to restart nuclear plants lies with local governments) and plans to strengthen relations with the United States. His first budget increased defense spending and manpower while reducing foreign aid.[34]

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.[35] 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.[36] In heradling 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.[37]

Politics and philosophy[edit]

View on history[edit]

Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, then Chief Cabinet Secretary, with a group of students from Harvard University. His future Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki (himself a graduate of Harvard University) is standing to his left.

Abe is widely viewed as a right-wing nationalist.[38][39][40] The British Rupert Wingfield-Hayes of BBC described him as "far more right wing than most of his predecessors."[41] 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[42] he questions the extent to which coercion was applied toward the Comfort Women, dismissing Korean "revisionism" as foreign interference in Japanese domestic affairs. In a Diet session on October 6, 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.[43]

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',[44] 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'.[44] However, on a TV program in July 2006[45] 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. In this book, he says that Class A war criminals (those charged with crimes against peace) who were adjudicated in the Tokyo Tribunal after World War II were not war criminals in the eye of domestic law.[citation needed] The Korean and Chinese governments, as well as noted academics and commentators, have voiced concern about Abe's historical views.[46][47][48]

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,[49] 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.[50]

However, it provoked negative reaction from Asian and Western countries, for example, a New York Times editorial on March 6, 2007:

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. Korea and China are also infuriated by years of Japanese equivocations over the issue.[51]

The American newspaper Washington Post editorial, "Shinzo Abe's Double Talk" (March 24, 2007), also criticized him: "he's passionate about Japanese victims of North Korea—and blind to Japan's own war crimes".[52] A March 2, 2014 New York Times editorial called Abe a "nationalist" who is a profound threat to US-Japan relations.[53]

Response to mass media[edit]

Abe campaigning in 2010

The Asahi Shimbun also accused Abe and Shōichi Nakagawa of censoring a 2001 NHK program concerning "The Women's International War Crimes Tribunal".[54] The "tribunal" was a private committee to adjudicate comfort women; about 5,000 people including 64 casualties 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'.[55]

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.[56] Abe's actions in the NHK incident have been criticized as being both illegal (violating the Broadcast Law) and unconstitutional (violating the Japanese Constitution).[57]

A news program aired on TBS on July 21, 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 October 24, 2006, a report emerged that Abe's new administration had called on the NHK to "pay attention" to the North Korean abductees issue.[58] 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.[59]

On November 22, 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.[60]

Yasukuni Shrine[edit]

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".[61] He visited again on August 15, 2012, the anniversary of the end of World War II,[62] and after winning the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party, he visited on October 17, 2012 in an official capacity as party president.[63]

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 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.[64] 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 December 9, 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.[65]

His first visit to the shrine as Prime Minister took place on December 26, 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," and said he had "no intention to neglect the feelings of the people in China and South Korea." 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."[66] Qin Gang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: Abe is "unwelcome by Chinese people.. Chinese leaders won't meet him any more."[67] The Mainichi Shimbun argued in an editorial that the visit could also "cast a dark shadow" on relations with the United States,[68] 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."[69] Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials urge Abe not to visit the shrine and pay homage to war criminals anymore.[70] 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."[71] 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.[72]

Restoration of Sovereignty Day[edit]

On April 28, 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 Okinawans who saw it as celebrating a betrayal, and there were demonstrations in both Okinawa and Tokyo.[73]

Honours, awards and international recognition[edit]

Honours[edit]

Awards[edit]

Honorary doctorates[edit]

Cabinets[edit]

First term (2006–2007)[edit]

Abe's first cabinet was announced on September 26, 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 August 27, 2007.[74]

First
(September 26, 2006)
First, Realigned
(August 27, 2007)
Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki Kaoru Yosano
Internal Affairs Yoshihide Suga Hiroya Masuda
Justice Jinen Nagase Kunio Hatoyama
Foreign Affairs Taro Aso Nobutaka Machimura
Finance Koji Omi Fukushiro Nukaga
Education Bunmei Ibuki
Health Hakuo Yanagisawa Yōichi Masuzoe
Agriculture Toshikatsu Matsuoka 1
Norihiko Akagi1
Masatoshi Wakabayashi 2
Economy Akira Amari
Land Tetsuzo Fuyushiba
Environment Masatoshi Wakabayashi 1 Ichirō Kamoshita
Defense3 Fumio Kyuma 4 Masahiko Kōmura
Public Safety,
Disaster Prevention
Kensei Mizote Shinya Izumi
Economic and Fiscal Policy Hiroko Ōta
Financial Policy Yuji Yamamoto Yoshimi Watanabe
Administrative Reform Yoshimi Watanabe 5
Regulatory Reform Fumio Kishida
Okinawa/Northern Territories, Technology Sanae Takaichi
Birth Rate, Youth and Gender Equality Yōko Kamikawa
National Security Advisor Yuriko Koike
Economic Policy Advisor Takumi Nemoto
North Korean Abductions Advisor Kyoko Nakayama
Education Advisor Eriko Yamatani
Public Relations Advisor Hiroshige Seko

Notes:

  1. Toshikatsu Matsuoka committed suicide on May 28, 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 August 1, 2007 due to suspicions of similar conduct. Masatoshi Wakabayashi was appointed Agriculture Minister, which he served concurrently with his post as Environment Minister.
  2. Masatoshi Wakabayashi was appointed Agriculture Minister on September 3, 2007, following Takehiko Endo's resignation due to a financial scandal.
  3. 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.
  4. Fumio Kyuma resigned on July 3, 2007 for controversial remarks made about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He was replaced by Yuriko Koike, then National Security Advisor.
  5. Yoshimi Watanabe was appointed Minister of State for Administrative Reform upon December 28, 2007 resignation of Genichiro Sata. He served in this capacity concurrently with his role as Minister of State for Regulatory Reform.

Second term (2012–present)[edit]

Abe's second cabinet was criticized by the Economist as "a cabinet of radical nationalists."[75]

Second
(December 26, 2012)
Secretary Yoshihide Suga
Internal Affairs Yoshitaka Shindo
Justice Sadakazu Tanigaki
Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida
Deputy Prime Minister, Financial Services, Finance Taro Aso
Education, Educational Reform Hakubun Shimomura
Health Norihisa Tamura
Agriculture Yoshimasa Hayashi
Economy Toshimitsu Motegi
Land Akihiro Ota
Environment, Nuclear Crisis Management Nobuteru Ishihara
Defense3 Itsunori Onodera
Public Safety,
Measures for National Land Strengthening and Disaster Management
Keiji Furuya
Economic and Fiscal Policy and Economic Revitalisation Akira Amari
Disaster Reconstruction Takumi Nemoto
Administrative Reform and Public Servant System Reforms Tomomi Inada
Okinawa/Northern Territories Ichita Yamamoto
Birth Rate Masako Mori
National Security Advisor -
Economic Policy Advisor -
North Korean Abductions Advisor Keiji Furuya
Education Advisor -
Public Relations Advisor -

[76]

Family[edit]

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.[77] 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 disk 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.[77] The couple have no children.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 学校法 人 成蹊学園 成蹊ニュース(2006年度) Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
  2. ^ The Dragons of Troy, USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2006, accessed December 22, 2012.
  3. ^ Profile: Shinzo Abe BBC News Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
  4. ^ Shinzo Abe the Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe's official website Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
  5. ^ JPop.com – JPop bands, albums, songs, and info (Kishi Yōko)
  6. ^ "Mob boss gets 20 for Abe home arsons", March 10, 2007, The Japan Times
  7. ^ The Abe Enigma Time
  8. ^ Kodomo wa shakai no takara, kuni no takara desu jimin.jp (LDP site)[dead link]
  9. ^ Shinzo Abe to Succeed Koizumi as Japan's Next Prime Minister Bloomberg
  10. ^ Mori faction unease mounts / Ex-premier stumped over Abe, Fukuda and party leadership race Daily Yomiuri[dead link]
  11. ^ a b Abe elected as new Japan premier, BBC News. Retrieved September 26, 2006. Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
  12. ^ a b Abe Is Chosen as Japan's Youngest Leader in 65 Years, Bloomberg, September 26, 2006.
  13. ^ Japan's Abe Unexpectedly Names Omi Finance Minister, Bloomberg, September 26, 2006.
  14. ^ 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." 
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External links[edit]

House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Shintaro Abe
Makoto Ogawa
Yoshirō Hayashi
Takeo Kawamura
Member of the House of Representatives
for Yamaguchi's 1st district

1993–1996
Served alongside: Yoshirō Hayashi, Takeo Kawamura, Takaaki Koga
Multi-member district eliminated
New constituency Member of the House of Representatives
for Yamaguchi's 4th district (single-member)

1996–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Taku Yamasaki
Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party
2003–2004
Succeeded by
Tsutomu Takebe
Preceded by
Junichiro Koizumi
President of the Liberal Democratic Party
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Yasuo Fukuda
Preceded by
Sadakazu Tanigaki
President of the Liberal Democratic Party
2012–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Hiroyuki Hosoda
Chief Cabinet Secretary
2005–2006
Succeeded by
Yasuhisa Shiozaki
Preceded by
Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister of Japan
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Yasuo Fukuda
Preceded by
Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
2012–present
Incumbent