News / Asia

Shinzo Abe Favors Greater Global Role for Japan

Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
VOA News
Japan's newly elected prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is a long-time conservative politician who has pushed for a more aggressive foreign policy and a greater role for Japan on the world stage.

His stance has appealed to many voters who are concerned that Japan is falling behind China economically and diplomatically.

Abe has called for amending Japan's pacifist post-World War II constitution in order to strengthen the country's military.

Shinzo Abe

  • 1954    Born in Tokyo, grandson of former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi
  • 1977    Graduated from Seikei University
  • 1993    Elected for the first time to parliament
  • 2003    Became secretary-general of Liberal Democratic Party
  • 2005    Appointed chief cabinet secretary
  • 2006    Became prime minister, stepped down in 2007
  • 2012    Elected LDP leader in September, confirmed as prime minister in December
He has taken a hard-line stance on North Korea, especially regarding the North Korean abduction of Japanese citizens, and has publicly recognized the need for improved relations with China.

The outspoken nationalist has vowed to defend Japan's control of disputed islands in the East China Sea, known in Japan as Senkaku and in China as Diaoyu. China also lays claim to those islands, which have been a major source of tension between the two Asian powers.   

Abe also has promised to restore growth to an economy that has been struggling in recent decades. His election restores power to his pro-business Liberal Democratic Party that has run Japan for most of the post-World War II era.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet

  • Finance Minister Taro Aso - 72, was prime minister until 2009
  • Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida - 55, former banker was in charged of territorial issues previous Abe government
  • Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera - 52, has held key posts in defense, foreign affairs and fisheries
  • Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari - 63, was trade and industry minister in previous Abe government
  • Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi - 57, former financial services minister
The 58-year-old Abe, born in Yamaguchi prefecture, comes from a high-profile political family. His grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was Japan's prime minister from 1957 to 1960. His father, Shintaro Abe, served as foreign minister from 1982 to 1986.    

Shinzo Abe graduated with a degree in political science at Seikei University before studying politics in the U.S. at the University of Southern California. He won his first seat in parliament in 1993 and went on to become a deputy cabinet secretary.

Appointed to the cabinet for the first time in 2005, he was given the high-profile role of chief cabinet secretary.

Abe was elected Japan's prime minister in 2006, but stepped down less than a year later amid declining popularity. He said ill health in the form of inflammatory bowel disease compelled him to step aside.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid