The former prime minister was the youngest to take office and became known on the international stage for the ‘Abenomics’ project.
Shinzo Abe was the longest serving prime minister in Japan and faced various political and financial scandals. He died this Friday, at the age of 8, after being the victim of a gun attack while participating in a campaign activity, where he was giving a speech for the parliamentary elections, where he was shot in the neck. The former prime minister was a third-generation nationalist leader and for eight years, from 2012 to 2020, he tried to revive the Japanese economy and restore some of the country’s militarism and pride.
Abe was 52 when he took over as prime minister in 2006, becoming the youngest person ever to hold the post. His first term was turbulent, marked by scandals and disputes, and ended with his sudden resignation after a year. At the time, he claimed that he had made this decision for political reasons, but later ended up admitting that he had a health problem, which was later diagnosed as ulcerative colitis. The treatment lasted months and was only possible thanks to a new medication, as the former prime minister reports. Cured, in December 2012 he ran again as a candidate and returned to the post of prime minister as the savior of the country. His victory ended a tumultuous period in which prime ministers succeeded each other at a rate of up to one per year.
His government gained even more people’s trust after knowing how to deal with the effects of the 2011 tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. On the international stage, Abe became famous for his economic recovery strategy, known as “Abenomics”, which mixed monetary easing, major budget recovery and structural reforms. These initiatives made it possible to increase the employment rate of women and the elderly. The country also began to turn to immigration, more intensively, to cope with labor shortages. However, the program did not last long and was overshadowed by the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Abe was considered a symbol of change and youth and had the pedigree of a third-generation politician, groomed from an early age to wield power within an elite conservative family. His great ambition was to revise Japan’s pacifist Constitution of 1947, drafted during the US occupation and never amended. During his tenure, Abe took a hard-line policy on North Korea, but assumed a peacekeeping role between the US and Iran. He prioritized a close relationship with then-President Donald Trump to protect relations between the two countries from the Republican businessman’s nationalism, while also trying to mend ties with Russia AND China. The results were mixed. Abe has failed to reach an agreement with Russia over the disputed islands. So did his plan to invite Chinese President Xi Jinping on a state visit.
Often beset by scandals affecting those close to him, the former prime minister knew how to take advantage of external events — such as North Korean missile launches and natural disasters — to deflect attention and present himself as an indispensable leader. in the face of adversity. He has also benefited from the lack of an equal opponent within his party, the PLD (Liberal Democratic Party), and the fragility of the opposition, which has not yet recovered from its disastrous tenure in government between 2009 and 2012. power in 2020 after was forced to leave the post of head of government due to health problems. Aged 67, he died at a hospital in Kashihara hours after he was shot during a midway election rally in Nara, western Japan.