Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Yoshiko Sakurai

【#714(Special)】Thanking Abe for His Furious Efforts

Yoshiko Sakurai / 2020.09.03 (Thu)

September 1, 2020


Thirteen years ago, Shinzo Abe fell ill and resigned as prime minister. Today, however, he looks far different. He now stands firm despite his illness. Before offering to resign as prime minister for health reasons again, he took actions to cope with foreseeable crises in Japan. Abe now looks like a reliable strong man who is glaring at Japan in the future. Even after resigning as prime minister, Abe will remain a center of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Giving excellent consideration to future Japan

On August 28 when Abe offered to resign as prime minister, he officially decided to secure novel coronavirus vaccines for all citizens while providing them preferentially to senior citizens and healthcare workers in preparation for simultaneous outbreaks of coronavirus and the flu in the coming winter. Abe has also set up a framework to prepare for another present danger: nuclear threat from North Korea and China. In Japan that had been complacent with pacifism dreaming of “exclusively defensive posture,” the concept of preemptive strikes had been viewed as dangerous. Abe has broken through the absurdity and changed course in the direction of allowing Japan to strike enemy bases identified as preparing for missile attacks on Japan.

Japan must defend itself and its people. Prime Minister Abe has continued to make this natural thing real with policies, not with empty slogans. Like his grandfather former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, Abe has promoted unpopular legislative agendas based on Japan’s national interests. Even in the face of his falling approval ratings, Abe has not hesitated to make decisions based on national interests, including the legislation of secret information protection act and the peace and security legislation that allows Japan to partially exercise its rights to collective self-defense. He has also advocated constitutional amendments and retained the call.

In the international arena as well, Prime Minister Abe has made courageous proposals. He has launched an Indo-Pacific strategy to prepare for Chinese threats as the most alarming issue. He has also created a Japan-U.S.-Australia-India security cooperation framework. In the economic field, Abe has orchestrated the 11-country Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement while overcoming the U.S. Trump administration’s withdrawal from the pact. He has also achieved an economic partnership agreement with the European Union.

Another chance to come to the fore

All the more important is that Abe has urged the Japanese people to be proud of their mother land. It is natural for the nation and the people to learn from history. But learning from history is not equal to completely denying prewar Japan. In his statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Abe mentioned this common-sense idea and declared that he would put an end to a situation in which Japanese future generation continue to apologize over history. He has positively assessed Japan’s history while regretting what should be regretted.

Furthermore, Abe has placed North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens as an issue symbolizing politicians’ responsibility and taken actions to demonstrate that the government is naturally responsible for rescuing the abductees.

Abe is set to cede the premiership to his successor soon. After the resignation, Japan and the international community will find anew how important and great his role had been. I would like to emphasize that Abe has worked furiously like a raging lion over the past eight years. I heartily thank him for it as a Japanese citizen. I believe that Abe would have a third chance to come to the fore to lead the country after recovering his health through medical treatment and rest.

Yoshiko Sakurai is President of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and a freelance journalist.