The assassination of the former Japanese prime minister

Image: Vincent MA Janssen


Shinzo Abe was a revisionist nationalist who used friction with China to pursue Japanese national interests.

On Thursday night, July 06, 2022, a man with a collapsible weapon killed former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe. Adhering to family tradition, Shinzo Abe was a Japanese imperialist.

Like Peter Lee wrote about he in 2013: “Myth: Shinzo Abe is a leading member of the team of global and Asian democracies fighting China in the name of universal values ​​like “freedom of navigation” and to help ensure shared peace and prosperity in Asia . Reality: Shinzo Abe is a revisionist nationalist who uses friction with China to pursue Japanese national interests, place Japan on the right side of a zero-sum economic equation in opposition to the People's Republic of China, maximize Japan's independence of action as a regional hegemonic nation, in the hope that it will be peaceful, but if not…”

Mission for Western Media: Manage the cognitive dissonance between comforting myth and disturbing reality for the good of your loyal readers. Challenge: Explain Prime Minister Abe's December 26, 2013 visit to Yasukuni Shrine.

Some of the most monstrous Class A war criminals of WWII, which include Abe's grandfather, were buried at Yasukuni Shrine. The shrine and its attached museum push the boundaries for most Japanese politicians. But Shinzo Abe visited with pomp and circumstance, because he shared the ideology of those buried there:

The core issues of Abe's historical revisionism were not only that the bandit-infested territories of China and Korea demanded Japanese tutelage in the 1930s and 1940s, but also that the Japanese Empire at that time led the struggle of the oppressed peoples of Asia against British colonialism and US imperialism – in other words, the real war crime of World War II was US aggression against Japan. The United States, and its pretensions of moral superiority over Japan, as well as China's and Korea's smug claims of being innocent victims, were the target of Abe's visit to Yasukuni.

His policy of promoting militarism and conflict, especially with China and the two Koreas, while showing sympathy for Russia, was born out of this ideology.

Shinzo Abe's last stint as prime minister lasted eight years. This was surprising, as prime ministers in Japan rarely serve for more than a year. It takes special qualities to survive politically for such an extended period of time, and Shinzo Abe has done just that.

Gun crimes in Japan are extremely rare. Of the handful that take place each year, most take place between rival Japanese mafia groups, the Yakuza. Japanese police will likely discover that the shooter was a "lone individual". That may very well be true, but there will certainly be others who will benefit from the incident.

As William Pesek writesu in the newspaper Asia Times: “While the motives and long-term implications of this attack are impossible to assess, one political dynamic may have changed: Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may now have greater room to remain in cabinet beyond the one-year milestone, which will be completed in October.

Even if Abe's political camp denies it, Tokyo was abuzz with talk that Abe, who resigned in September 2020, might want to step into the ring to run for a third term as leader. Abe was prime minister from 2006 to 2007, then from 2012 to 2020.

Abe has played a politically influential behind-the-scenes role since his resignation. There was widespread speculation that he was unhappy with Fumio Kishida's retreat from efforts he undertook to broker de-escalation with Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Abe also disliked the vision of Kishida promising to reform, after a long time, Asia's second economy, implying that the so-called “Abenomics” would not have managed to put Japan on a more vibrant path.

Japanese prime ministers don't usually last more than 12 months. Abe's eight-year tenure was wholly uncharacteristic. Suffice it to say, Kishida won't need to look over his shoulder to the powerful Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Sunday's upper house elections are likely to give Kishida a firmer grip on his feuding party, allowing him to emerge from the shadow of past leaders.

Kishida's policies are in line with Abe's. He wants a heavily militarized Japan that can project its power abroad. The US promotes this as it favors its anti-China policies. But they must be careful what they wish for.

Japan is a latent nuclear power, as it has stored a lot of uranium and plutonium. Japan has 47,8 tons of high-sensitivity reprocessed plutonium, 10,8 tons of which are stored in Japan, enough to make 1.350 nuclear warheads. In addition, Japan also has about 1,2 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for research reactors.

The country has competence to deal with this material. In a crisis situation, it could build nuclear bombs quickly. Japan has long range cargo vehicles due to its space program. Once hatched, a revisionist Japan would be a danger, not just to its immediate neighbors, but to the US itself.

China and both Koreas will be relieved that Shinzo Abe, the industrious revisionist, is gone. I wonder at which shrine his ashes will be interred.

*Bernhard Horstmann is editor of the independent North American media Moon of Alabama.

Translation: Mauricio Ayer to the website Other words.


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