News / Asia

    Abe Named New Japanese Prime Minister

    Japan's Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe bows after being named Japan's new prime minister during the plenary session at the lower house of Parliament in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
    Japan's Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe bows after being named Japan's new prime minister during the plenary session at the lower house of Parliament in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
    ​Japan has a new prime minister. The Diet (parliament) on Wednesday selected Shinzo Abe to again lead the country after his Liberal Democratic Party scored a solid comeback in elections this month. That ends a three-year stay in power for the Democratic Party of Japan.

    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
     Abe said his top priorities are to overcome the country's economic and diplomatic crises.

    At his initial news conference,  following his selection by lawmakers to lead Japan, Abe lamented that any country that gives up on economic growth has no future.

     Abe said he wants to achieve results as soon as possible to earn the public's trust and avoid the fate of many of his predecessors who could barely last one year in office.

    Shinzo Abe succeeds Yoshihiko Noda whose fate was sealed after the DPJ lost its control of the lower house in elections earlier this month.

    Japan's newly-named Prime Minsiter Shinzo Abe smiles as he waves at the media upon his arrival at the prime minister's official residence following his election at Parliament in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.Japan's newly-named Prime Minsiter Shinzo Abe smiles as he waves at the media upon his arrival at the prime minister's official residence following his election at Parliament in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
    x
    Japan's newly-named Prime Minsiter Shinzo Abe smiles as he waves at the media upon his arrival at the prime minister's official residence following his election at Parliament in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
    Japan's newly-named Prime Minsiter Shinzo Abe smiles as he waves at the media upon his arrival at the prime minister's official residence following his election at Parliament in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
    It is a stunning comeback for Abe, a third-generation politician, who suddenly resigned as prime minister five years ago amid declining popularity.

    Abe said medication is effectively treating the inflammatory bowel disease that compelled him to step aside just short of one year in office in 2007.

    There were five prime ministers in between Abe's previous departure and his return to the post.

    The Democrat Party of Japan came to power three years ago, amid a prolonged economic decline, after the electorate voted out the scandal-ridden LDP which has governed the country for most of the period since World War II.

    Speaking to reporters, Abe emphasized that a closer alliance with the United States is key to stable diplomacy for Japan.

    Abe's return is being viewed cautiously in East Asia. That is due to his tough talk regarding Japan's worsening territorial disputes with its neighbors, his desire to strengthen Japan's defense forces and unapologetic views on the country's harsh, 20th century colonization of part of China and the whole of the Korean peninsula.

    China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, told reporters that Beijing is willing to make joint efforts with Tokyo “to promote healthy and stable development of Sino-Japan relations.”

    Hua said China hopes “Japan can stick to the path of peaceful development and play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability of the region.”

    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
    Abe's key Cabinet appointments are giving some clues to the direction he plans to take.

    His new defense minister is Itsunori Onodera, who favors stronger security ties with the United States.

    Fumio Kishida is the new foreign minister. He has previous Cabinet experience dealing with Okinawa where there is widespread discontent over the long-stalled relocation of a U.S. Marine Corps air station.

    To help push through a $120 billion public works and other emergency stimulus spending plan, Abe has selected former prime minister Taro Aso as finance minister. Aso will also serve as deputy prime minister.

    • New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front C) and his cabinet ministers pose for a photo after their first cabinet meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
    • Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe bows after being named Japan's new prime minister at the lower house of Parliament in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
    • Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd R) receives a certificate from Emperor Akihito (L) as former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (2nd L) watches, during a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.
    • Incoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe casts a vote at the Lower House of the Parliament in Tokyo, December 26, 2012.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    December 30, 2012 10:26 PM
    Thanks Prime minister Shinzo Abe on your desire to strengthen defense forces and a closer alliance with the USA and Japan.

    by: Anonymous
    December 26, 2012 11:31 PM


    relationship beweteen China and Japan will be tense again

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora