Abe, Shinzo

Abe, Shinzo

(shēn`zō ä`bā), 1954–, Japanese politician. The son and grandson of politicians (his grandfather was Prime Minister Nobusuke KishiKishi, Nobusuke
, 1896–1987, Japanese statesman; older brother of Eisaku Sato. The son of a minor official, he went to live with prosperous relatives and took their name. After attending the law college of Tokyo Univ.
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), he served as secretary to his father and succeeded to his father's seat in the Diet in 1993. Abe gained attention in 2002 for taking a strong stand against North Korea over its kidnapping of Japanese citizens, and in 2003 he became secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic partyLiberal Democratic party
(LDP), Japanese political party. It began as the conservative Liberal party, which, under Shigeru Yoshida, became the dominant political force in Japan following World War II. In 1955 the Liberals merged with the newly created Democratic party.
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. Becoming chief cabinet secretary under Prime Minister KoizumiKoizumi, Junichiro
, 1942–, Japanese political leader, b. Yokosuka. From a political family, he studied economics at Keio Univ. (grad. 1967). He entered politics in 1970 as a member of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP), and two years later was elected to the Diet.
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 in 2005, Abe was regarded as Koizumi's likely successor, and succeeded him as party president and prime minister in 2006. A strong conservative and an apologist for Japan's role in World War II, Abe has supported revising the constitutional limitations on Japan's military, increasing Japan's role in international affairs, taking a harder line in Japan's relations with North Korea, and continuing Koizumi's economic reforms. In office, he succeeded in repairing ties with China that had been damaged under his predecessor and secured passage of educational reforms and of an upgrading of the defense agency to ministry status, but a series of government scandals and the LDP's loss of control of the Diet's upper house (July, 2007) led to Abe's resignation in Sept., 2007. Yasuo FukudaFukuda, Yasuo
, 1936–, Japanese politician. Son of ex-prime minister (1976–78) Takeo Fukuda, he attended Waseda Univ. (grad. 1959) and worked for an oil company for 17 years.
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 succeeded him. Five years later he was again elected leader of the LDP. In Dec., 2012, led the party to a landslide victory and again became prime minister; early elections two years later again resulted in a landslide win. His time in office since 2012 has been marked by continual tensions with China over disputed islands (also an issue to a lesser degree with Taiwan and South Korea) and increases in defense spending along with the easing of some restrictions of Japan's military.