Shinzō Abe : biography
is the Prime Minister of Japan, and has held office since December 2012. He is the President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and chairman of the Oyagaku propulsion parliamentary group.
Abe became the 90th Japanese Prime Minister when he was elected by a special session of the National Diet on 26 September 2006. He became Japan's youngest prime minister since World War II, and is the first to be born after the war. Abe served as prime minister for less than a year, resigning on 12 September 2007. He was replaced by Yasuo Fukuda, beginning a string of Prime Ministers, none of whom retained office for more than one year.
On 26 September 2012, Abe defeated former Minister of Defense Shigeru Ishiba in a run-off vote to win the LDP presidential election. Abe became the Prime Minister again on 26 December 2012, following the LDP's landslide victory in the 2012 general election. He is the first former Prime Minister to return to the office since Shigeru Yoshida in 1948.
Abe is widely viewed as a right-wing nationalist, and holds views that have sparked controversy in the media.
Politics and philosophy
View on history
Abe is widely viewed as a right-wing nationalist. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes of BBC described him as "far more right wing than most of his predecessors." 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 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 6 October 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., Daily Yomiuri, 7 October 2006.
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', 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'. However, on a TV program in July 2006 he denied that Manchukuo was a puppet state.
Abe published a book called 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. The Korean and Chinese governments, as well as noted academics and commentators, have voiced concern about Abe's historical views., ZNet, 5 October 2006. , Japan Policy Research Institute Working Paper No. 107 (June 2005)., The Hankyoreh, 2 September 2006.
However, it provoked negative reaction from Asian and Western countries, for example, a New York Times editorial on 6 March 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.
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