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Aug 25 · Last update 20 days ago.

What will Shinzo Abe’s legacy be?

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had previously been the country’s longest leader, but has recently set another record as the leader with most consecutive days in office also. This double record has led many commentators to start speculating on his legacy ahead of the likely end to his term in September 2021. While being the longest serving leader Abe’s time as Prime minister has not been without controversy, what will his legacy be when he finally leaves office?
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Shinzo Abe’s time as prime minister, despite being unprecedentedly long, has been fraught with scandals. Most memorable will probably be the favouritism and corruption scandals surrounding the sale of buildings, well below market value, to the troubled Moritomo Gakuen school operator, who Abe’s family had connections with. However this is just one of a string of scandals that repeatedly damaged his approval rating and recurred from early in his first government to months before he resigned in 2020. Abe’s leadership was also controversial for his staunch conservatism and historical revisionism, but he failed to achieve the constitutional change he advocated for despite the unparalleled length of time as the country’s leader, failing to achieve his ideological goals.

His foreign policy also left a lot to be desired, Abe befriending Donald Trump, an extraordinarily anti-diplomatic figure, and in return he received abuse over security matters, a worsening trade deficit and an increasingly unstable North Korea, leaving Japan on uncertain ground. But Abe also failed to resolve the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens issue that he made his central foreign policy, and oversaw progressively worsening relations with neighbouring South Korea. Even the circumstances around the time Abe quit his position will mark his legacy, leaving amidst a global pandemic and postponed Olympics, and while some neighbouring countries had a strong response to the virus, Abe’s pandemic response has been near invisible and this will leave a lasting impression.

aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/shinzo-abe-japans-longest-continuously-serving-pm-200823100318813.html theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/16/japan-cronyism-scandal-linked-to-shinzo-abe-and-wife-worsens-with-suicide-note upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2020/04/01/Japans-Shinzo-Abe-says-he-has-no-intention-to-leave-office/5481585759713 scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3038522/shinzo-abes-legacy-stagnant-economy-loyalty-donald-trump-deepening

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Shinzo Abe’s time as prime minister, despite being unprecedentedly long, has been fraught with scandals. Most memorable will probably be the favouritism and corruption scandals surrounding the sale of buildings, well below market value, to the troubled Moritomo Gakuen school operator, who Abe’s family had connections with. However this is just one of a string of scandals that repeatedly damaged his approval rating and recurred from early in his first government to months before he resigned in 2020. Abe’s leadership was also controversial for his staunch conservatism and historical revisionism, but he failed to achieve the constitutional change he advocated for despite the unparalleled length of time as the country’s leader, failing to achieve his ideological goals.

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Shinzo Abe had a short first term, cut short by health problems, but becoming party leader again in 2012 he went on to have a second term as Prime Minister, proving strong enough to break Japan’s revolving door of prime ministers to become the longest serving. This strength defined his following terms, as he proved tough the issue on Japanese abductees taken by North Korea, an issue that had fallen from the limelight somewhat. Likewise he passed secrecy and security acts which helped to bolster national security, protecting Japan's diplomacy, public safety and minimising terrorism, Abe also fostered increasingly good security relations with the US during his tenure. Economically Abe was pragmatic and risk-taking, and although he proved divisive toward the end of his leadership as a result, you can't become the longest serving prime minister without doing something right. Japan is a country of social stability, comparative equality, continued economic growth, high employment, it is safe, stable, and has a strong middle class, all signs of good leadership.

gisreportsonline.com/scenarios-for-the-legacy-of-shinzo-abe,politics,3060.html theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/10/japan-state-secrets-law-security-dissent

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