Shinze Abe Elected as Leader of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party

And it’s more bad news for Kim Jong Il:

Mr. Abe, a conservative, is also well known for his tough stance toward Pyongyang. He became interested in the issue of Japanese citizens abducted to North Korea in 1988 and began investigating the kidnappings when he was first elected to the Diet in 1993. After a decade of effort by Tokyo, Pyongyang admitted to the kidnappings in 2002, and Mr. Abe rocketed into political prominence.

Newspaper reports have suggested that Abe, whose formal election as PM is now pretty much in the bag, may impose additional trade sanctions. I’d also like to see Japan do much less to advance the cynical manipulations of Chinese and Korean politicians who would use legitimate historical grievances as a wedge issue. Abe claims he wants to improve relations with the neighbors, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see how he acts. Meanwhile, Abe has a responsibility to his voters to keep the country safe and get back its abducted citizens. A tougher course of action is clearly called for, and Abe seems like the man to do it.

3 Comments

  1. The good, you already elaborated. As for the bad… I think Abe will continue the Yasukuni visits and otherwise support the more unpalatable antics of the Japanese political right.




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  2. I’m with James on that – from the Chosun Ilbo in 2004:

    Acting LDP Secretary-General Abe Shinzo on the same day asserted that, “Leaders who succeed Prime Minister Koizumi should also visit and pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine.” Abe also supported the textbooks made by the far-right splinter group and he once declared with a clear conscience that, “The issue of comfort women never even existed.”




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