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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 11:45 09/13/2007
News Review #411: September 13, 2007

Japan's Abe Quits Amid Afghan Battle

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Japan's Abe Quits Amid Afghan Battle
CBS News (9/13/2007)


Mr. Shinzo Abe's announcement that he will resign as prime minister is sending a shock wave throughout the political field in Japan, and is now being felt overseas, as seen in the CBS News article. There seem to be various interpretations as to why he made this announcement now, not earlier or later, but one thing is quite clear, especially to overseas observers, that is, its connection with the issue on the extension of the Antiterrorism Law. In fact, Mr. Abe himself clearly stated in the press conference right after his announcement that his failure in talking with Democratic Party leader Ichiro Ozawa about the Antiterrorism Law made him decide to quit.

As a result, concerns are expressed overseas regarding the future involvement of the Japanese government in international affairs in general and in Japan-US relations, as the first sentence of this article implies: "Japan's prime minister announced Wednesday that he was quitting after only a year in office, bowing out amid a political brawl over the country's aid to U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan." It seem inevitable that the Japanese public tends to be looking inward, only concerning their economic problems such as the failing pension system, without regard for the war against terrorism. Furthermore, the Democratic Party seems to benefit from its emphasis on domestic economic issues as well as its "inward-looking" policy toward foreign affairs such as its rejection of the extension of the Antiterrorism Law.

However, in view of rapidly changing international conditions, especially in East Asia with the North Korean nuclear problem and China's military expansion, Japan really needs a political leader who can understand foreign affairs well and, at the same time, attract public support to his or her political agenda. That has become even more difficult than before, in wake of Mr. Abe's resignation, leading to an ever shrinking pool of political leadership and the public's increasing inward-looking attitude.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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