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PacNet #2 – Does Abe’s Rightward Shift Threaten His Legacy?

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo passed the one-year mark of his term in office Dec. 26, and the two-year mark if one includes his previous term from Sept. 2006-Sept. 2007 – a bar only three others have passed since 1989. Abe hopes to continue serving until the next mandated national elections in July and December 2016. If he succeeds, he will be only the fourth man in postwar Japan to serve over five years as prime minister – joining notables Yoshida Shigeru (of the Yoshida Doctrine), Sato Eisaku (who shared a Nobel peace prize for Japan’s non-nuclear policies), and Koizumi Junichiro (who anointed Abe as his successor in 2006). Abe’s decision to visit to the Yasukuni Shrine on the one-year anniversary of his second term illustrates rightist tendencies and influences that may keep him from achieving that ambition and implementing his policy agenda.