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Who Is Shinzo Abe, Japan's Departing Prime Minister?

2020-08-28 12:55:27

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, announced on Friday that he would resign, ending a term in office in which he pursued — with mixed results — a conservative agenda of restoring the country’s economy, military and national pride.

Mr. Abe, 65, the grandson of a prime minister, was initially elected to Parliament in 1993 after the death of his father, a former foreign minister. He first served as prime minister beginning in 2006, but stepped down after a scandal-plagued year in office.

He became the country’s leader again in 2012, promising to fix its beleaguered economy and achieve his nationalist dream of amending Japan’s pacifist Constitution to allow for a full-fledged military.

After he had served nearly eight years in office, he said it was ailing health — a relapse of a bowel disease that had contributed to his previous exit in 2007 — that led him to resign.

The once-popular leader, however, had recently seen a decline in his standing with the Japanese people, and he was criticized for his handling of the country’s coronavirus epidemic and his support for an arrested member of his party.

Here is a look at his time in office and his legacy.

Mr. Abe’s most enduring legacy may well be a series of economic policies intended to revive Japan’s once-outsize economic growth.

His “Abenomics” program was intended to battle the threats of deflation and an aging work force, through cheap cash, fiscal spending and corporate deregulation.


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