The Cold War Daily

Notes on the new great power struggle.

Tag: Shinzo Abe

Text of Shinzo Abe’s speech to Australia’s parliament

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swears that Japan’s 20th century ‘horrors’ will not happen again, and stresses Australia and Japan’s shared support for the “rule of law.” Full text in English here.

One key quote:

We will never let the horrors of the past century’s history repeat themselves. This vow that Japan made after the war is still fully alive today. It will never change going forward. There is no question at all about this point.

Would this line raise eyebrows in Washington? Abe, discussing the conclusion of the Australia-Japan FTA says:

The next step for us will be the TPP. After that, RCEP. And then the FTAAP.

RCEP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is the China-backed regional trade deal, that is seen as the rival to the US-backed TPP. Australia, is one of a number of countries pursuing both agreements.

Also, Abe’s mentioned “rule of law” twice, which echoes lingo that has been used since the time the US’s Asian pivot was announced.


Shinzo Abe visits Yasukuni shrine: Brace for backlash

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, showing his “third face”,  to the public and world.

The visit to the Shrine, which is considered a symbol of Japan’s militaristic past in China and South Korea comes as tensions have flared in the East China Sea in the past month.

From the WSJ:

“I have no intention at all of hurting the feelings of the Chinese or the South Korean people,” Mr. Abe said, adding that he wanted to explain his views to the leaders of both countries.

In the WSJ piece, Japan’s FM Fumio Kishida described it as a personal issue… “It’s something to do with one’s heart,” he told a news conference.

The same piece notes that this decision will likely make Washington unhappy. But for Japan to step out of the shadow of WWII, as Germany has since 1989, means that sometimes Washington won’t be happy.

The decision by Abe signals to his ideological backers that Abe is true to the unreconstructed conservative Japan. This is one of Abe’s three faces, according to Shinichi Kitaoka, president of the International University of Japan.

“My understanding is that Abe-san has three faces: Abe as right-wing, Abe as a pragmatist, Abe as the economic reformer,” he told Reuters in July.

We’ve seen the economic reformer through the many policies of Abenomics. We’ve seen the pragmatist in navigating tensions with China. Now is time for the right-winger.

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